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Surveillance, Citizenship and the State 

In order to distinguish between those who may and may 
not enter or leave, states everywhere have developed 
extensive systems of identification, central to which is 
the passport. This innovative book argues that docu- 
ments such as passports, internal passports and related 
mechanisms have been crucial in making distinctions 
between citizens and non-citizens. It examines how the 
concept of citizenship has been used to delineate rights 
and penalties regarding property, liberty, taxes and wel- 
fare. It focuses on the US and Western Europe, moving 
from revolutionary France to the Napoleonic era, the 
American Civil War, the British industrial revolution, 
pre-World War I Italy, the reign of Germany's Third 
Reich and beyond. This original study combines 
theory and empirical data in questioning how and why 
states have established the exclusive right to authorize 
and regulate the movement of people. 

John Torpey is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and 
Chair of the International Studies Faculty Board at the 
University of California, Irvine. Previously he was pro- 
gram officer in the Jennings Randolph Program for 
International Peace at the United States Institute of 
Peace. He has held fellowships from the National 
Endowment for the Humanities, the German Marshall 
Fund, the European University Institute (Florence, 
Italy), and the Center for European Studies at Harvard. 
His other publications include Intellectuals, Socialism and 
Dissent: The East German Opposition and its Legacy (1995) 
and Documenting Individual Identity (co-edited with Jane 
Caplan 2000), as well as numerous articles in such 
journals as Geneses, Theory and Society, and German 
Politics and Society. 


Series editors: 

Chris Arup, Martin Chanock, Pat O'Malley 
School of Law and Legal Studies, La Trobe University 
Sally Engle Merry, Susan Silbey 

Departments of Anthropology and Sociology, Wellesley College 
Editorial board: 

Richard Abel, Harry Arthurs, Sandra Burman, Peter Fitzpatrick, Marc Galanter, 
Yash Ghai, Nicola Lacey, Sol Picciotto, Jonathan Simon, Bonaventura da Sousa 
Santos, Frank Snyder 

The broad area of law and society has become a remarkably rich and dynamic 
field of study. At the same time, the social sciences have increasingly engaged 
with questions of law. In this process, the borders between legal scholarship and 
the social, political and cultural sciences have been transcended, and the result 
is a time of fundamental re-thinking both within and about law. In this vital 
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series with an international focus and a concern with the global transformation 
of the legal arena. The series aims to publish the best scholarly work on legal 
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empirical research. 

Already published: 

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The vagabond is by definition a suspect. 
Daniel Nordman 


Surveillance, Citizenship and the State 
John Torpey 

University of California, Irvine 




The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, United Kingdom 


The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK http:/ / 
40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 1001 1-421 1, USA 
10 Stamford Road, Oakleigh, Melbourne 3166, Australia 
Ruiz de Alarcon 13, 28014, Madrid, Spain 

©John Torpey 2000 

This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception 

and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, 

no reproduction of any part may take place without 

the written permission of Cambridge University Press. 

First published 2000 

Printed in China by Colorcraft 

Typeset in New Baskerville 10/12 pt 

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library 

National Library of Australia Cataloguing in Publication data 
Torpey, John C. 

The invention of the passport: surveillance, citizenship and the state. 


Includes index. 

ISBN 0 521 63249 8 (hbk). 

ISBN 0 521 63493 8 (pbk). 

1. Passports - Europe - History - 19th century. 2. Passports - History. 
3. Passports - France - History - 18th century. 4. Citizenship - 
History. I. Title. (Series: Cambridge studies in law and society). 

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data 
Torpey, John C. 

The invention of the passport: surveillance, citizenship, and the state 
John Torpey. 
p. cm. 

Includes bibliographical references and index. 

ISBN 0-521-63249-8 (hardback: alk. paper). — ISBN 0-521-63493-8 (pbk.: alk. paper) 
1. Passports — United States. 2. Freedom of movement — 
United States. 3. Passports — Europe, Western. 4. Freedom of 
movement — Europe.Western. I. Title. 

K3273.T67 1999 99-33083 
342'.082— dc21 

ISBN 0 521 63249 8 hardback 
ISBN 0 521 63493 8 paperback 


Acknowledgments ix 

Introduction 1 

1 Coming and Going: On the State Monopolization of the 

Legitimate "Means of Movement" 4 

Monopolizing the legitimate means of movement 6 

Modern states: "penetrating" or "embracing"? 10 

Getting a grip: institutionalizing the nation-state 14 

The prevalence of passport controls in absolutist Europe 18 

2 "Argus of the Patrie": The Passport Question in the French 

Revolution 21 

The passport problem at the end of the Old Regime 21 
The flight of the King and the revolutionary renewal of passport 

controls 25 
The Constitution of 1 791 and the elimination of passport controls 29 

The debate over passport controls of early 1792 32 

A detailed examination of the new passport law 36 

Passports and freedom of movement under the Convention 44 

Passport concerns of the Directory 51 

3 Sweeping Out Augeas's Stable: The Nineteenth-Century 

Trend Toward Freedom of Movement 57 
From the emancipation of the peasantry to the end of the 

Napoleonic era 58 
Prussian backwardness? A comparative look at the situation in 

the United Kingdom 66 
Freedom of movement and citizenship in early nineteenth-century 

Germany 71 

Toward the relaxation of passport controls in the German lands 75 
The decriminalization of travel in the North German 

Confederation 81 

Broader significance of the 1867 law 88 



4 Toward the "Crustacean Type of Nation": The Proliferation of 

Identification Documents From the Late Nineteenth 

Century to the First World War 93 

Passport controls and state development in the United States 93 

Paper walls: Passports and Chinese exclusion 96 
The "nationalization" of immigration restriction in the 

United States 101 

Sovereignty and dependence: The Italian passport law of 1901 103 

The spread of identification documents for foreigners in France 105 
The resurrection of passport controls in late nineteenth-century 

Germany 108 
The First World War and the "temporary" reimposition of 

passport controls 111 

"Temporary" passport controls become permanent 116 

The United States and the end of the laissez faire era in migration 117 

5 From National to Postnational? Passports and Constraints on 

Movement from the Interwar to the Postwar Era 122 
The emergence of the international refugee regime in the 

early interwar period 124 

Passports, identity papers, and the Nazi persecution of the Jews 131 
Loosening up: Passport controls and regional integration in 

postwar Europe 143 

Conclusion: A Typology of "Papers" 158 

International passports 159 

Internal passports 1 64 

Identity cards 165 

Notes 168 

References 191 

Index 203 



While I was confident from the outset that a book about "the history of 
the passport" was a clever idea, I was less convinced at first that this was a 
subject of any real significance. I therefore owe a great debt to several 
historians who helped persuade me very early on that this would indeed 
prove a worthwhile undertaking: Paul Avrich, Eric Hobsbawm, Stephen 
Kern, Eugen Weber, and Robert Wohl. While I had the good fortune 
to enjoy an extended colloquy with Robert Wohl in the context of a 
National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored seminar on intel- 
lectuals and politics during the summer of 1994 when the idea for this 
study was first formulated, the others simply responded to an unsolicited 
query from a young scholar unknown to them. This generosity only 
increased the admiration I had for them, which was of course what had 
led me to write to them in the first place. Todd Gitlin also reacted with 
enthusiasm to the idea of the book. Todd's endorsement of the project 
as well as his steadfast support for me and my work have been a source of 
great satisfaction over the last decade and more; I feel honored to have 
his friendship and encouragement. Without the generosity of these peo- 
ple, this project would never have become more than an idle curiosity. 

Once I had seriously embarked on the project, two other people, 
Gerard Noiriel and Jane Caplan, lent their enthusiasm and provided 
shining examples of the kind of scholarship I wanted to produce. 
Noiriel's writings on the history of immigration, citizenship, and identi- 
fication documents in France have been a major inspiration for me; the 
citations of his work in the text point only to the visible peak of an ice- 
berg of scholarly debt. Jane Caplan 's support for this project quickly led 
to a collaborative undertaking on related issues concerning the prac- 
tices that states have developed to identify individuals in the modern 
period, to be published elsewhere. Working with her has been both a 
real pleasure and an extended private tutorial (entirely unrecom- 
pensed) in scholarly professionalism. I feel profoundly fortunate and 
grateful that David Abraham put us in touch, somehow intuiting - as a 
result of my work on passports and Jane's on tattooing - that "you're 
working on the same kind of stuff." 



Next, I am particularly indebted to Aristide Zolberg, whose work on 
the dynamics of international migration in the modern world has deeply 
influenced my own thinking about these matters. Although we had met 
on a couple of occasions earlier and I was familiar with a number of his 
writings on this subject, it was as a result of my participation in the 
German American Academic Council-SSRC Summer Institute on 
Immigration, Integration, and Citizenship, organized by Ari and the 
impressive Austrian migration scholar Rainer Miinz during the summers 
of 1996 and 1997, that I came to a fuller grasp of Ari's approach to 
understanding migration processes. His ideas pervade this book, which I 
can only hope will provide a useful complement to his work on the role 
of states in shaping migration processes. 

Although the list of others I wish to thank is long, I hope this will not 
be regarded as merely a surreptitious effort at self-congratulation. The 
fact that these people and institutions are to be found in several coun- 
tries on three continents is both a measure of the good fortune I have 
had in carrying out this project and testimony to the reality of an inter- 
national community of scholars, of which I am thrilled to be a part. 

Much of the research for this book was carried out while I held ajean 
Monnet Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence, 
Italy during 1995-96. Upon my arrival in the world's most beautiful city, 
a young legal historian, Stefano Mannoni, insisted that the place for me 
to conduct the research I wanted to do was the Library of the Chamber 
of Deputies, situated happily in the shadow of the Pantheon in Rome. 
Stefano called his friend, bibliotecario straordinario Mario di Napoli, on my 
behalf, and the rest was smooth sailing. I am greatly indebted to Mario's 
colleague Silvano Ferrari, who tracked down many an obscure source 
for me and, if he couldn't find it, invited me to join him in the otherwise 
closed stacks for the search. At the EUI, Raffaelle Romanelli's enthusi- 
asm for the project helped sustain me through some uncertain times; 
my friend Christian Joppke pushed me forward, and provided plenty of 
good company. 

For kindnesses, criticisms, assistance, suggestions, hospitality, cita- 
tions, and occasionally quizzical looks, I wish to extend my sincere 
gratitude to Peter Benda, Didier Bigo, Scott Busby, Kitty Calavita, Craig 
Calhoun, Mathieu Deflem, Gary Freeman, Bernard Gainot, Janet 
Gilboy, Phil Gorski, Valentin Groebner, Virginie Guiraudon, David 
Jacobson, David Laitin, Leo Lucassen, Michael Mann, John McCormick, 
Bob Moeller, Daniel Nordman, Giovanna Procacci, Marian Smith, 
Peggy Somers, Yasemin Soysal, Anthony Richmond, Tim Tackett, Sara 
Warneke, the late Myron Weiner, and Bruce Western. I am especially 
grateful to Susan Silbey for inviting me to contribute this volume in the 
Cambridge series on Law and Society. 



In the course of writing this book, I have benefited greatly from the 
largesse of several other institutions that have provided funding for 
research or time away from regular academic duties, as well as congenial 
surroundings in which to carry out the project. At a time in which pub- 
lic support for scholarship is under sharp attack in the United States, I 
wish to make special mention of a fellowship from the National 
Endowment for the Humanities, the award of which I regarded as a 
particular honor. I was also delighted that the German Marshall Fund 
found my work worthy of its support. In Paris, I enjoyed the assistance of 
Professor Catherine Duprat at the Institut de PHistoire de la Revolution 
Francaise and the hospitality afforded by the Maison Suger/Maison des 
Sciences de l'Homme, whose director, Maurice Aymard, has been most 
helpful. The University of California at Irvine has been supportive of me 
and of this project, for which I am grateful. 

I have talked about aspects of this project in venues too numerous to 
indicate here, but I would nonetheless like to take this opportunity to 
thank Charles Maier, Director of the Center for European Studies at 
Harvard, and Nancy Green, a distinguished historian of migration at the 
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, for invitations to speak 
about this project at their respective institutions and for the helpful 
comments I received on those occasions. 

An earlier version of Chapter 1, together with the Conclusion, 
appeared previously as "Coming and Going: On the State Monopoliza- 
tion of the Legitimate 'Means of Movement'," Sociological Theory 16(3) 
(November 1998): 239-59. That article has also appeared in French as 
"Aller et venir: le monopole etatique des 'moyens legitimes de circula- 
tion," Cultures et Conflits 31-2 (Automne-hiver 1998): 63-100. A French 
translation of parts of Chapter 3 was published as "Le controle des passe- 
ports et la liberte de circulation: Le cas de 1 Allemagne au XIXe siecle," 
Geneses: Sciences sociales et histoire 30 (March 1998): 53-76. 

I must also thank my research assistants, Derek Martin and Sharon 
McConnell, who helped me get under the trap door just before it came 
down. Alas, unlike when Harrison Ford is involved, the door did not 
remain open until there was time for one last act of heroism. I am grate- 
ful to Phillipa McGuinness and Sharon Mullins at Cambridge University 
Press for their enthusiasm about the project, and for holding the door 
open just a little longer than they might have liked. I hope the result 
justifies their patience. 

Finally, my deepest thanks to Caroline, who made it all worthwhile. 



In an obscure paragraph of a package of immigration reforms adopted 
in 1996, the United States government committed itself to developing 
"an automated system to track the entry and exit of all non-citizens, thus 
providing a way of identifying immigrants who stay longer than their 
visas allow." At the time that the legislation was supposed to be put into 
effect, however, some in the government came to regard this measure as 
likely to cause undue complications for millions of border-crossers, and 
the implementation of the law was postponed for two and a half years. 
The postponement was also deemed advisable in part because the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service, the agency mandated to design 
the system, was far from having amassed the technology "to process 
information estimated to be so vast that in one year it would exceed all 
the data in the Library of Congress." 1 Clearly, this program would be an 
enormous and unprecedented undertaking. 

This book examines some of the background to such efforts to iden- 
tify and track the movements of foreigners. The study concentrates on 
the historical development of passport controls as a way of illuminating 
the institutionalization of the idea of the "nation-state" as a prospectively 
homogeneous ethnocultural unit, a project that necessarily entailed 
efforts to regulate people's movements. Yet because nation-states are 
both territorial and membership organizations, they must erect and sus- 
tain boundaries between nationals and non-nationals both at their 
physical borders and among people within those borders. 2 Boundaries 
between persons that are rooted in the legal category of nationality can 
only be maintained, it turns out, by documents indicating a person's 
nationality, for there simply is no other way to know this fact about some- 
one. Accordingly, a study that began by asking how the contemporary 
passport regime had developed and how states used documents to con- 
trol movement ineluctably widened to include other types of documents 
related to inclusion and exclusion in the citizen body, and to admission 
and refusal of entry into specific territories. 

I argue that, in the course of the past few centuries, states have suc- 
cessfully usurped from rival claimants such as churches and private 
enterprises the "monopoly of the legitimate means of movement" - that 



is, their development as states has depended on effectively distinguishing 
between citizens/subjects and possible interlopers, and regulating the 
movements of each. This process of "monopolization" is associated with 
the fact that states must develop the capacity to "embrace" their own cit- 
izens in order to extract from them the resources they need to 
reproduce themselves over time. States' ability to "embrace" their own 
subjects and to make distinctions between nationals and non-nationals, 
and to track the movements of persons in order to sustain the boundary 
between these two groups (whether at the border or not), has depended 
to a considerable extent on the creation of documents that make the 
relevant differences knowable and thus enforceable. Passports, as well 
as identification cards of various kinds, have been central to these pro- 
cesses, although documentary controls on movement and identification 
have been more or less stringently developed and enforced in different 
countries at various times. 

This study focuses on the vicissitudes of documentary controls on 
movement in Western Europe and the United States from the time of 
the French Revolution until the relatively recent past. I begin with the 
French Revolution because of its canonical status as the "birth of the 
nation-state." Yet the transformation of states inaugurated by the French 
Revolution turns out to have had much more to do with the gradual pro- 
cess of inclusion of broad social strata in the political order than with the 
construction of an ethnically "pure" French population, although I 
examine efforts along these lines as well. The shift toward broader incor- 
poration of the populace in political decision-making is reflected in the 
controversies chronicled in Chapter 2, where I recount how the French 
revolutionaries publicly debated the issue of passport controls on move- 
ment for the first time in European history. Because I was intrigued by 
the question of who supported and who opposed documentary controls 
on movement in various contexts and why they did so, I have discussed 
subsequent debates over these matters in other countries wherever I 
have been able to find source materials. The narrative addresses the 
legal history of passport controls in these countries until shortly after 
the Second World War. I have said relatively little about the postwar 
period, mainly because others have analyzed the process of European 
unification and its attendant relaxation of documentary restrictions on 
movement in greater detail than I could hope to do. 3 Instead, I have said 
only enough about the postwar era to indicate some doubts about 
whether we have entered into a period of "post-national membership," 
as some commentators have recently suggested. 4 

The geographical frame of the study derives from my belief that the 
dominance of Western states in the period examined has been relatively 
clear-cut, and that the imposition of Western ways on most of the rest of 



the world has been one of the most remarkable features of the era. Here I 
am only echoing what I take to be common wisdom about the rise and 
dominance of the West during the modern age. This should not be taken 
to imply any denigration of non-Western cultures, but only the recogni- 
tion that those societies have not been sufficiently powerful to impose 
their ways upon the world. Indeed, I would be delighted if this study were 
to stimulate studies of systems of documentary controls on movement and 
identity in other parts of the world and in other periods. 5 For now, how- 
ever, it seems worthwhile to begin to make sense of the processes that 
spawned the world-girdling system of passport controls on international 
movement that arose from the gradual strengthening of state apparatuses 
in Europe and the United States during the past two centuries or so. 

Because the passport system arose out of the relatively inchoate inter- 
national system that existed during the nineteenth century, I have not 
undertaken strong, systematic comparisons of one country versus 
another. I argue that the emergence of passport and related controls on 
movement is an essential aspect of the "state-ness" of states, and it there- 
fore seemed to be putting the cart before the horse to presume to 
compare states as if they were "hard," "really-existing" entities of a type 
that were more nearly approximated after the First World War. 
Moreover, what is remarkable about the contemporary system of pass- 
port controls is that it bears witness to a cooperating "international 
society" as well as to an overarching set of norms and prescriptions to 
which individual states must respond. 6 This does not mean, as some 
seem to think, that there is no such thing as "sovereignty," but only that 
this is a claim states make in an environment not of their own making. To 
paraphrase Marx, states make their own policy, "but they do not make it 
just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by 
themselves, but under circumstances directly found, given, and trans- 
mitted" from the outside. 

The following study seeks to demonstrate that passports and other 
documentary controls on movement and identification have been 
essential to states' monopolization of the legitimate means of movement 
since the French Revolution, and that this process of monopolization 
has been a central feature of their development as states during that 
period. The project has been motivated in considerable part by 
the uneasy feeling that much sociological writing about states is insup- 
portably abstract, failing to tell us how states actually constitute and 
maintain themselves as ongoing concerns. By focusing not on the grand 
flourishes of state-building but on what Foucault somewhere described 
as the "humble modalities" of power, I hope to contribute to a more 
adequate understanding of the capacity that states have amassed to 
intrude into our lives over the last two centuries. 




In his writings, Karl Marx sought to show that the process of capitalist 
development involved the expropriation of the "means of production" 
from workers by capitalists. The result of this process was that workers 
were deprived of the capacity to produce on their own and became 
dependent upon wages from the owners of the means of production for 
their survival. Borrowing this rhetoric, Marx's greatest heir and critic, 
Max Weber, argued that a central feature of the modern experience was 
the successful expropriation by the state of the "means of violence" from 
individuals. In the modern world, in contrast to the medieval period in 
Europe and much historical experience elsewhere, only states could 
"legitimately" use violence; all other would-be wielders of violence must 
be licensed by states to do so. Those not so licensed were thus deprived 
of the freedom to employ violence against others. Following the rhetoric 
used by Marx and Weber, this book seeks to demonstrate the proposi- 
tion that modern states, and the international state system of which they 
are a part, have expropriated from individuals and private entities the 
legitimate "means of movement," particularly though by no means 
exclusively across international boundaries. 

The result of this process has been to deprive people of the freedom to 
move across certain spaces and to render them dependent on states and 
the state system for the authorization to do so - an authority widely held in 
private hands theretofore. A critical aspect of this process has been that 
people have also become dependent on states for the possession of an 
"identity" from which they can escape only with difficulty and which may 
significandy shape their access to various spaces. There are, of course, 
virtues to this system - principally of a diplomatic nature - just as the 
expropriation of workers by capitalists allows propertyless workers to 



survive as wage laborers and the expropriation of the means of violence by 
states tends to pacify everyday life. Yet in the course of each of these trans- 
formations, workers, aggressors, and travelers, respectively, have each 
been subjected to a form of dependency they had not previously known. 

Let me emphasize that I am not claiming that states and the state sys- 
tem effectively control all movements of persons, but only that they have 
monopolized the authority to restrict movement vis-a-vis other potential 
claimants, such as private economic or religious entities. Such entities 
may play a role in the control of movement, but they do so today at the 
behest of states. Nor am I arguing that states' monopolization of the 
legitimate means of movement is a generalization valid for all times and 
places; the monopolization of this authority by states emerged only grad- 
ually after the medieval period and paralleled states' monopolization of 
the legitimate means of violence. My argument bears strong similarities 
to that of John Meyer when he addresses the delegitimation of organiza- 
tional forms other than the nation-state in the emerging "world polity." 
Various non-state associations, Meyer writes 

are kept from maintaining private armies, their territory and property are 
subject to state expropriation, and their attempts to control their popula- 
tions are stigmatized as slavery . . . although states routinely exercise such 
controls with little question. A worker may properly be kept from crossing 
state boundaries, and may even be kept from crossing firm boundaries by 
the state, but not by the firm. 1 

To be more precise, firms may keep a worker from crossing the bound- 
aries of the firm, but they do so under authority granted them by the state. 

An understanding of the processes whereby states monopolized the 
legitimate means of movement is crucial to an adequate comprehension 
of how modern states actually work. Most analyses of state formation 
heretofore have focused on the capacity of states to penetrate societies, 
without explicitly telling us how they effect this penetration. Such analy- 
ses have posited that successful states developed the ability to reach into 
societies to extract various kinds of resources, yet they typically fail to 
offer any specific discussion of the means they adopted to achieve these 
ends. Foucault's writings on "governmentality" and the techniques of 
modern governance represent an important corrective to this tradition. 
For all their preoccupation with policing, population, and "pastoral 
power," however, Foucault's considerations of these matters lack any pre- 
cise discussion of the techniques of identification that have played a 
crucial role in the development of modern, territorial states resting on 
distinctions between citizens/ nationals and aliens. 2 

Meanwhile, analyses of migration and migration policies have tended 
to take the existence of states largely for granted, typically attributing 



migration to a variety of socioeconomic processes ("push-pull" processes, 
"chain migration," "transnational communities," etc.) without paying ade- 
quate attention to territorial states' need to distinguish "on the ground" 
among different populations or to the ways in which the activities of states 
- especially war-making and state-building - result in population move- 
ments. The chief exception to this generalization has been to be found in 
the writings of Aristide Zolberg, who has been urging for two decades that 
the state-building (and state-destroying) activities of states should occupy 
a central role in studies of human movement or its absence, alongside the 
more routine examination of states' immigration policies. 3 Rather than 
ignoring the role of states, studies of immigration policies take them as 
given and thus fail to see the ways in which regulation of movement con- 
tributes to constituting the very "state-ness" of states. 

These approaches are inadequate for understanding either the devel- 
opment of modern states or migration patterns. In what follows, I seek to 
supersede these partial perspectives and to show that states' monopoliza- 
tion of the right to authorize and regulate movement has been intrinsic to 
the very construction of states since the rise of absolutism in early modern 
Europe. I also attempt to demonstrate that procedures and mechanisms 
for identifying persons are essential to this process, and that, in order to 
be implemented in practice, the notion of national communities must be 
codified in documents rather than merely "imagined." 4 

In the remainder of this chapter, I undertake four tasks. First, I show 
how and why states have sought to monopolize the "legitimate means of 
movement" - that is, to gather into their own hands the exclusive right 
to authorize and regulate movement. Next, I argue that the processes 
involved in this monopolization force us to rethink the very nature of 
modern states as they have been portrayed by the dominant strands of 
sociological theories of the state. In particular, I seek to show that the 
notion that states "penetrate" societies over time fails adequately to char- 
acterize the nature of state development, and argue instead that we 
would do better to regard states as "embracing" their citizenries more 
successfully over time. Then, I analyze the need for states to identify 
unambiguously who belongs and who does not - in order to "embrace" 
their members more effectively and to exclude unwanted intruders. 
Finally, I examine some of the efforts of early modern states in Europe 
to implement documentary restrictions on movement, and thus to ren- 
der populations accessible to their embrace. 


States have sought to monopolize the capacity to authorize the move- 
ments of persons - and unambiguously to establish their identities in 



order to enforce this authority — for a great variety of reasons which 
reflect the ambiguous nature of modern states, which are at once shel- 
tering and dominating. These reasons include such objectives as the 
extraction of military service, taxes, and labor; the facilitation of law 
enforcement; the control of "brain drain" (i.e., limitation of departure 
in order to forestall the loss of workers with particularly valued skills) ; 
the restriction of access to areas deemed "off-limits" by the state, 
whether for "security" reasons or to protect people from unexpected or 
unacknowledged harms; the exclusion, surveillance, and containment 
of "undesirable elements," whether these are of an ethnic, national, 
racial, economic, religious, ideological, or medical character; and the 
supervision of the growth, spatial distribution, and social composition of 
populations within their territories. 

States' efforts to monopolize the legitimate means of movement have 
involved a number of mutually reinforcing aspects: the (gradual) defini- 
tion of states everywhere - at least from the point of view of the 
international system - as "national" (i.e., as "nation-states" comprising 
members understood as nationals); the codification of laws establishing 
which types of persons may move within or cross their borders, and deter- 
mining how, when, and where they may do so; the stimulation of the 
worldwide development of techniques for uniquely and unambiguously 
identifying each and every person on the face of the globe, from birth to 
death; the construction of bureaucracies designed to implement this 
regime of identification and to scrutinize persons and documents in 
order to verify identities; and the creation of a body of legal norms 
designed to adjudicate claims by individuals to entry into particular spaces 
and territories. Only recently have states actually developed the capacities 
necessary to monopolize the authority to regulate movement. 

To be sure, despotisms everywhere frequently asserted controls on 
movement before the modern period, but these states generally lacked 
the extensive administrative infrastructure necessary to carry out such 
regulation in a pervasive and systematic fashion. The successful monopo- 
lization of the legitimate means of movement by states and the state 
system required the creation of elaborate bureaucracies and technolo- 
gies that only gradually came into existence, a trend that intensified 
dramatically toward the end of the nineteenth century. The process 
decisively depended on what Gerard Noiriel has called the "revolution 
identificatoire," the development of "cards" and "codes" that identified 
people (more or less) unambiguously and distinguished among them 
for administrative purposes. 5 Such documents had existed previously, of 
course, but their uniform dissemination throughout whole societies, not 
to mention their worldwide spread as the international passport with 
which we are familiar today, would be some time in coming. Once they 



became available to (almost) anyone, however, they also became a 
requirement for legitimate movement across territorial spaces. 

Things have not always been this way. The great migrations that pop- 
ulated many of the world's inhabited regions would otherwise have been 
greatly hampered, if not rendered impossible. Where the right to autho- 
rize movement was controlled by particular social groups before the 
coalescence of the modern state system (and indeed until well after it 
had come into being), these groups were as often private entities as 
constituted political authorities. Indentured servants' right to move, for 
example, was under the control of their masters. Under serfdom, the 
serfs' legal capacity to move lay in the hands of their landlords, who had 
jurisdiction over them. Slavery, even when it did not involve actual 
shackles, entailed that slaveholders held the power to grant their slaves 
the right to move. 6 

As modern states advanced and systems of forced labor such as slavery 
and serfdom declined, however, states and the international state system 
stripped private entities of the power to authorize and forbid movement 
and gathered that power unto themselves. In doing so, they were 
responding to a considerable extent to the imperatives of territorial rule 
characteristic of modern states, as well as to the problem of "masterless 
men" 7 as personal freedom advanced. The phenomenon is captured 
nicely in Karl Polanyi's discussion of the emergence of "the poor" as a 
distinctive group in early modern England: 

[T]hey became conspicuous as individuals unattached to the manor, "or to 
any feudal superior[,]" and their gradual transformation into a class of 
free laborers was the combined result of the fierce persecution of vagrancy 
and the fostering of domestic industry . . . 8 

The transition from private to state control over movement was an essen- 
tial aspect of the transition from feudalism to capitalism. 

The process through which states monopolized the legitimate means 
of movement thus took hundreds of years to come to fruition. It followed 
the shift of orientations from the local to the "national" level that accom- 
panied the development of "national" states out of the panoply of 
empires and smaller city-states and principalities that dotted the map of 
early modern Europe. The process also paralleled the rationalization and 
nationalization of poor relief, for communal obligations to provide such 
relief were an important source of the desire for controls on movement. 
Previously in the domain of private and religious organizations, the 
administration of poor relief gradually came to be removed from their 
purview and lodged in that of states. As European states declined in num- 
ber, grew in size, and fostered large-scale markets for wage labor outside 
the reach of landowners and against the traditional constraints imposed 



by localities, the provision of poor relief also moved from the local to the 
national arena. 9 These processes, in turn, helped to expand "outward" to 
the "national" borders the areas in which persons could expect to move 
freely and without authorization. Eventually, the principal boundaries 
that counted were those not of municipalities, but of nation-states. 

The process took place unevenly in different places, following the 
line where modern states replaced non-territorial forms of political 
organization 10 and "free" wage labor replaced various forms of servi- 
tude. Then, as people from all levels of society came to find themselves 
in a more nearly equal position relative to the state, state controls on 
movement among local spaces within their domains subsided and were 
replaced by restrictions that concerned the outer "national" boundaries 
of states. Ultimately, the authority to regulate movement came to be 
primarily a property of the international system as a whole - that is, of 
nation-states acting in concert to enforce their interests in controlling 
who comes and goes. Where pronounced state controls on movement 
operate within a state today, especially when these are to the detriment 
of particular "negatively privileged" status groups, we can reliably expect 
to find an authoritarian state (or worse). The cases of the Soviet Union, 
Nazi Germany, apartheid-era South Africa, and Communist China (at 
least before the 1980s) bear witness to this generalization." 

The creation of the modern passport system and the use of similar 
systems in the interior of a variety of countries - the product of cen- 
turies-long labors of slow, painstaking bureaucratic construction - thus 
signaled the dawn of a new era in human affairs, in which individual 
states and the international state system as a whole successfully monopo- 
lized the legitimate authority to permit movement within and across 
their jurisdictions. The point here is obviously not that there is no 
unauthorized (international) migration, but rather that such movement 
is specifically "illegal"; that is, we speak of "illegal" (often, indeed, of 
"undocumented") migration as a result of states' monopolization of the 
legitimate means of movement. What we now think of as "internal" 
movement - a meaningless and anachronistic notion before the devel- 
opment of modern states and the state system - has come to mean 
movement within national or "nation-states." Historical evidence indi- 
cates clearly that, well into the nineteenth century, people routinely 
regarded as "foreign" those from the next province every bit as much as 
those who came from other "countries." 

None of this is to say that private actors now play no role in the regu- 
lation of movement - far from it. Yet private entities have been reduced 
to the capacity of "sheriff s deputies" who participate in the regulation 
of movement at the behest of states. During the nineteenth and into 
the twentieth century, for example, governments in Europe pressed 



steamship companies into overseeing for them whether particular people 
should be permitted to travel to the destinations they had chosen. Since 
the development of air travel, airline companies have been subjected to 
similar obligations. Both shipping enterprises and air carriers have 
frequently resisted carrying out the sheriffs deputy function, mainly 
because they fear that their participation in such quasi-governmental 
activities will hurt their profitability. Not wanting to appear guilty of mere 
cupidity, however, they are likely to say that they regard the regulation of 
movement as the proper province of the state - and so it is. 12 

If, along with their efforts to monopolize the legitimate use of violence, 
modern states also seek to monopolize the legitimate means of move- 
ment, they must have means to implement the constraints they enunciate in 
this domain. In order to do so, they must be able to construct an enduring 
relationship between the sundry agencies that constitute states and both 
the individuals they govern and possible interlopers. This fact compels us 
to reconsider the principal line of sociological argumentation concerning 
the way modern states have developed. 


Previous sociological discussion of the development of modern states 
has focused attention primarily on their growing capacity to "penetrate" 
or "reach into" societies and extract from them what they need in order 
to survive. Discussions of states as "penetrating" societies more effec- 
tively during the modern period can be found in almost any major 
recent sociological discussion of the nature of modern states. 13 Going 
the state theorists one better, Jiirgen Habermas expanded the metaphor 
of "penetration" to characterize the activity of both the modern bureau- 
cratic state and the capitalist economy. Habermas thus speaks of the 
"colonization of the life-world" by the "steering media" of money and 
power. 14 Yet Habermas's analysis shares the weaknesses of the "penetra- 
tionist" paradigm of state theory, for "money" is rather more concrete 
than "power" as a mechanism for enabling and constraining social 
choices. But we may correct for the abstractness of "power" relative to 
that of money by seeing that identification papers of various kinds con- 
stitute the bureaucratic equivalent of money: they are the currency of 
modern state administration. 

The traditional (and unmistakably sexual) imagery of societies being 
"penetrated" by the state, however, unnecessarily and misleadingly nar- 
rows our analytical vision about the nature of modern states. In particular, 
the "penetrationist" approach has had little to say about the mechanisms 
adopted and employed by states to construct and sustain enduring rela- 
tionships between themselves and their subjects, the "social base" of their 



reproduction. The metaphor of the "penetration" of societies by states 
thus distorts the nature of the process whereby states have amassed the 
capacity to reconfigure social life by focusing our attention almost exclu- 
sively on the notion that states "rise up" above and surmount the isolated 
societies that seem, in this metaphor, to lie prostrate beneath them. 
Willingly or unwillingly, the now-standard imagery of penetration 
suggests, more or less weak societies simply receive the advances of more 
or less powerful states. Having been penetrated, societies give up - to a 
greater or lesser extent - what states demand of them. But how does this 
actually happen? How are the people who make up "societies" compelled 
to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's"? 

In order to extract resources and implement policies, states must be 
in a position to locate and lay claim to people and goods. This fact sug- 
gests an alternative imagery to that of "penetration" for understanding 
the accumulation of infrastructural capacity by modern states. Foucault 
has of course stressed the importance of "surveillance" in modern 
societies, but it often remains unclear in his writings to what particular 
purposes surveillance is being put. I believe we would do well to regard 
states as seeking not simply to penetrate but also to embrace societies, 
"surrounding" and "taking hold" of their members - individually and 
collectively - as those states grow larger and more administratively 
adept. More than this, states must embrace societies in order to penetrate 
them effectively. Individuals who remain beyond the embrace of the 
state necessarily represent a limit on its penetration. The reach of 
the state, in other words, cannot exceed its grasp. Michael Mann is cor- 
rect that the "unusual strength of modern states is infrastructural," 15 and 
their capacity to embrace their own subjects and to exclude unwanted 
others is the essence of that infrastructural power. 

My use of the term "embrace" derives from the German word erfassen, 
which means to "grasp" or "lay hold of in the sense of "register." Thus, for 
example, foreigners registered at the Auslanderbehorde (Agency for 
Foreigners) are said to be " auslanderbehbrdlich erfasst' — i.e., registered for 
purposes of surveillance, administration, and regulation by that agency. 
People are also "erfassen" by the census. It says something important about 
the divergent processes of state-building on the European continent and 
in the Anglo-American world that we lack ordinary English equivalents for 
the German "erfassen" (as well as for the French verb surveiller) . Whether 
or not our language adequately reflects this reality, however, the activities 
by which states "embrace" populations have become essential to the 
production and reproduction of states in the modern period. 

In contrast to the masculinized image of "penetrating" states sur- 
mounting societies, the metaphor of states' "embrace" of societies directs 
our awareness to the ways in which states bound - and in certain senses 



even "nurture" - the societies they hold in their clutches. In this regard, 
the imagery of "embracing" states shares similarities with Michael Mann's 
notion of the way states "cage" social activity within them, particularly the 
way in which the rise of national states tended to reorient political activity 
from the local or regional to the national level. 16 Yet Mann's "caging" 
metaphor fails to get at the way in which states metaphorically "grasp" 
both entire societies and individual people in order to carry out their 
aims. My metaphor of states "embracing" their populations is much more 
akin to James Scott's idea that states seek to render societies "legible" and 
thus more readily available for governance. 17 

The notion that states "embrace" individuals goes further, however, 
by calling to mind the fact that states hold particular persons within their 
grasp, while excluding others. This consideration is especially important 
in a world of states defined as nation-states - that is, as states comprising 
members conceived as nationals - and concerned successfully to 
monopolize the legitimate means of movement. In contrast, the imagery 
of "penetration" is blind to the peculiarities of the society that the state 
invades. Surely the metaphor of "embrace" helps make better sense of 
a world of states that are understood to consist of mutually exclusive 
bodies of citizens whose movements may be restricted as such. 

Systems of registration, censuses, and the like - along with documents 
such as passports and identity cards that amount to mobile versions of 
the "files" states use to store knowledge about their subjects - have been 
crucial in states' efforts to achieve these aims. Though not without flaws 
and loopholes, of course, such registration systems have gone a long way 
toward allowing states successfully to "embrace" their populations and 
thus to acquire from them the resources they need to survive, as well as 
to exclude from among the beneficiaries of state largesse those groups 
deemed ineligible for benefits. 

Modern "nation-states" and the international system in which they are 
embedded have grown increasingly committed to and reliant upon their 
ability to make strict demarcations between mutually distinct bodies of 
citizens, as well as among different groups of their own subjects, when 
one or more of these groups are singled out for "special treatment." The 
need to sort out "who is who" and, perhaps more significandy, "what is 
what" becomes especially acute when states wish to regulate movement 
across external borders. This is because, as Mary Douglas wrote some 
years ago, "all margins are dangerous . . . [A] ny structure of ideas is vul- 
nerable at its margins." 18 The idea of belonging that is at the root of the 
concept of citizenship is threatened when people cross borders, leaving 
spaces where they "belong" and entering those where they do not. 

Yet the nation-state is far more than a "structure of ideas." It is also - 
and more importantly for our purposes - a more or less coherent 



network of institutions. In this respect, recent developments in sociology 
turn our thinking in a fruitful direction when we try to make sense of 
how states actually embrace the societies they seek to rule, and to distin- 
guish their members from non-members. Rather than merely suggesting 
the way institutions shape our everyday world, the "new institutionalism" 
directs our attention to the "institutional constitution of both interests 
and actors." 19 

This point has a special relevance with regard to identities. Too fre- 
quendy in recent academic writing, identities have been discussed in 
purely subjective terms, without reference to the ways in which identities 
are anchored in law and policy. This subjectivistic approach, given pow- 
erful impetus by the wide and much-deserved attention given to 
Benedict Anderson's notion of "imagined communities," tends to ignore 
the extent to which identities must become codified and institutionalized 
in order to become socially significant. Noiriel has made this point in the 
strongest possible terms with respect to immigrants: "It is often over- 
looked that legal registration, identification documents, and laws are 
what, in the final analysis, determine the 'identity' of immigrants." 20 

But the point is more general. The cases of "Hispanics" (as opposed 
to Caribbeans or South or Central Americans, for example) or "Asian 
Americans" (as opposed to Japanese-Americans, Korean-Americans, 
etc.) in the United States, categories designed for the use of census- 
takers and policy-makers with little in the way of subjective correlates at 
the time of their creation, are here very much to the point. Whether 
substantial numbers of people think about themselves subjectively in 
these terms is an open, empirical question; that they would not be likely 
to do so without the institutional foundation provided by the prior legal 
codification of the terms seems beyond doubt. 

As nation-states - states of and for particular "peoples" defined as 
mutually exclusive groups of citizens 21 - modern states have typically 
been eager to embrace their populations, and to regulate the move- 
ments of persons within and across their borders when they wish to do 
so. Their efforts to implement such regulation have driven them toward 
the creation of the means uniquely and unambiguously to identify indi- 
vidual persons, whether "their own" or others. In order to monopolize 
the legitimate means of movement, states and the state system have 
been compelled to define who belongs and who does not, who may 
come and go and who not, and to make these distinctions intelligible 
and enforceable. Documents such as passports and identity cards have 
been critical to achieving these objectives. Beyond simply enunciating 
definitions and categories concerning identity, states must implement 
these distinctions, and they require documents in order to do so in 
individual cases. 




In order to make sense of the notion that states exist "of and for particu- 
lar peoples" generally understood today as "nations," we must first 
consider what a "nation" is. The concept of the nation, according to 
Weber, entails that we may "expect from certain groups a specific senti- 
ment of solidarity in the face of other groups," without there being any 
determinate "empirical qualities common to those who count as mem- 
bers of the nation." 22 Following in Weber's footsteps, Rogers Brubaker 
has stressed the "contingent, conjuncturally fluctuating, and precarious" 
quality of "nation-ness," pointing out that: "We should not ask 'what is a 
nation' but rather: how is nationhood as a political and cultural form 
institutionalized within and among states?" 23 Brubaker's institutionalist 
constructionism provides an important corrective to those views (typi- 
cally held above all by nationalists themselves) that suggest that "the 
nation" is a real, enduring historical entity. Failing their institutionaliza- 
tion, "nations" must remain ephemeral and fuzzy. 

How, indeed, is nationhood institutionalized? More specifically, pre- 
cisely how is the nexus between states, subjects, and potential interlopers 
generated and sustained? In order to extract the resources they need to 
survive, and to compel participation in repressive forces where neces- 
sary, states must embrace - that is, identify and gain enduring access to - 
those from whom they hope to derive those resources. Alternatively, 
states must be in a position to establish whether or not a would-be 
entrant matches the criteria laid down for authorized entry into their 
domains. Charles Tilly has noted that the French Revolution's inaugura- 
tion of what he aptly calls "direct rule" gave rulers "access to citizens and 
the resources they controlled through household taxation, mass con- 
scription, censuses, police systems, and many other invasions of 
small-scale social life." 24 Yet this listing leaves the matter too vague for 
adequate comprehension of the way in which states have, in fact, 
"invaded" small-scale social life and sought to render populations avail- 
able to their embrace. 

In particular, Tilly's enumeration of invasions leaves unclear how tax- 
ation and conscription grew to depend decisively on mechanisms of 
surveillance such as censuses, household registration systems, passports 
(internal and external), and other identity documents. The activities 
classically associated with the rise of modern states only became possible 
on a systematic basis if states were in a position successfully to embrace 
their populations for purposes of carrying out those activities. Such 
devices as identity papers, censuses, and travel certificates thus were not 
merely on a par with conscription and taxation as elements of state- 
building, but were in fact essential to their successful realization and 



grew, over time, superordinate to them as tools of administration that 
made these other activities possible or at least enforceable. 

Sociologists of the state have begun in recent years to address more 
adequately the problem of how states construct a durable relation 
between themselves and their subjects /citizens in furtherance of their 
own aims. This concern has been especially prominent in the work of 
Anthony Giddens. In his important study The Nation-State and Violence, 
Giddens pays considerable attention to the growing role of surveillance 
in the development of "direct rule." In contrast to "traditional states," 
Giddens noted that modern states presuppose a regularized administra- 
tion and that much of the necessary administrative capacity of modern 
states is rooted in -writing. It is through written documents - such as iden- 
tification papers - that much of the surveillance entailed by modern 
state administration is carried out: "[Administrative power can only 
become established if the coding of information is actually applied in a 
direct way to the supervision of human activities . . ." 25 Max Weber had 
earlier noted the importance of "the files" as an important element of 
bureaucratization, of course, but he failed to indicate their enormous 
role in the construction of states' enduring embrace of their citizens. Yet 
despite the heightened attention to the relationship between states and 
their subjects/citizens in recent writing on the development of state 
capacities, we still have little idea of how this relationship is actually con- 
structed and sustained. 

The essence of the problem can be couched in terms of states' need 
to be able to embrace their populations and to distinguish them from 
others. From the point of view of states' interests in keeping track of 
populations and their movements, people are little but "stigmata," 
appropriately processed for administrative use. The classic analysis of 
the operation of and responses to stigmata in informal interaction is 
Erving Goffman's discussion of Stigma? 6 where the burden of the analy- 
sis is on the management of "spoiled identity." But the problem is more 
pervasive than Goffman indicated, a fact that surely would have been 
clear to him if he had devoted more attention to the operations of 
bureaucratic institutions. 

In one of his few sustained treatments of formal institutional environ- 
ments, the irreplaceable essay on "total institutions" in Asylums, 21 Goffman 
shows that the effort to impose control in such environments begins with 
systematic attempts to annihilate the "identities" - the selves - of their 
inmates. In total institutions, the point is to deprive individuals of the 
personality resources that they might use to mount a defense against their 
condition. "On the outside," however, obliteration of individual identity 
would be ruinous to the state, for it would short-circuit the essential pro- 
cess of identifying individuals for administrative purposes. This outcome 



would frustrate the performance of those universal and indispensable 
state activities, the extraction of resources from subjects to nourish the 
administrative and coercive agencies that constitute and (assuming the 
state continues to function coherently) continuously replenish states. 

Michel Foucault extrapolated these basic insights into a nightmarish, 
dystopic, even absurd vision of modern society as a "carceral" world 
pervaded by "gentle" means of discipline and control carried out under 
and through the watchful eye of the "individualizing gaze." 28 Foucault 
dramatized this intuition by suggesting that Bentham's (never-built) 
"Panopticon," in which individual prisoners could be seen by a centrally 
located guard who was himself invisible to them, had become the basic 
model of modern social organization. In a sense, Foucault only drew the 
logical consequences from Weber's persistent fears about the jugger- 
naut of bureaucratic rationalization. Yet Foucault's emphasis on the 
intimate connections between power and knowledge, and on the crucial 
importance of individual surveillance in modern administrative systems, 
has proven enormously suggestive. 

Indeed, the following passage from a manual for driver's license tests 
issued by the State of California offers remarkably clear evidence of the 
profound importance that identification practices have assumed in 
modern times: 

IDENTIFICATION: The issue of identification (ID) - its reliability, 
integrity, confidentiality, etc. - is of prime concern to all levels of govern- 
ment, and the private sector as well. The eligibility for government 
services, the issuance of various licenses, the assessment of taxes, the right 
to vote, etc., are all determined through evaluations based in part on the 
identification documents you present. It becomes critical that ID documents 
and systems be completely authenticated and accurate in order to positively and 
uniquely identify each individual^ 

By their own lights, then, states have come decisively to depend on the 
unique and unambiguous identification of individuals in order to carry 
out their most fundamental tasks. 30 The examination of individual stig- 
mata, the essential form of which lies at the heart of all modern systems 
of identification, "places individuals in a field of surveillance [and also] 
situates them in a network of writing; it engages them in a whole mass of 
documents that capture and fix them." 31 The document held by the indi- 
vidual as "ID" thus corresponds to an entire series of files chronicling 
movements, economic transactions, familial ties, illnesses, and much 
else besides - the power/knowledge grid in which individuals are 
processed and constituted as administrative subjects of states. 

The achievement of this administrative knowledge was a long time in 
coming, however; state-sponsored identification practices with the aim 



of extending states' embrace of their populations have evolved signifi- 
cantly over time. Prior to the French Revolution, for example, 
descriptions of a person's social standing - residence, occupation, family 
status, etc. - were generally regarded as adequate indicators of a 
person's identity for purposes of internal passport controls in France. 32 
Thereafter, the growing preoccupation with surveillance and the 
progress of modern science combined to render insufficient these 
earlier, more homespun practices. States wanted to embrace their inhab- 
itants more firmly, and to be able to distinguish them from outsiders 
more clearly, than was possible with such methods. Achievement of this 
aim necessitated greater precision in identifying them. Yet at the same 
time, the rise of liberal and natural law ideas proclaiming individual 
freedom and the inviolability of the person cast into disfavor older 
habits of "writing on the body" such as branding, scarification, and 
tattooing, as well as dress codes as means for identifying persons (except 
when these methods of marking are voluntarily assumed, of course). 

As a result, states with a rising interest in embracing their populations 
had to develop less invasive means to identify people. The approach they 
adopted employs roughly the same principle that underlies ju^itsu: the 
person's body is used against him or her, in this case as evidence of iden- 
tity. Techniques for "reading off the body" have become more and more 
sophisticated over time, shifting from unreliable subjective descriptions 
and anthropometric measurements to photographs (themselves at first 
often considered unreliable by police), fingerprinting, electronically 
scanned palm-prints, DNA fingerprinting, and the retina scans drama- 
tized in the recent film version of Mission: Impossible. The persistent 
tinkering with these techniques indicates that states (and other entities, 
of course) have a powerful and enduring interest in identifying persons, 
both their own subjects and those of other countries. The ability of states 
uniquely and unambiguously to identify persons, whether "their own" or 
others, is at the heart of the process whereby states, and the interna- 
tional state system, have succeeded over time in monopolizing the 
legitimate means of movement in the modern world. 

Against this background, let us briefly examine the imposition of 
passport controls in early modern European states, as rulers increasingly 
sought to establish untrammeled claims over territories and people. 
Such rulers began to move away, however unintentionally, from a "polit- 
ical map [that] was an inextricably superimposed and tangled one, in 
which different juridical instances were geographically interwoven and 
stratified, and plural allegiances, asymmetrical suzerainties and anoma- 
lous enclaves abounded." 33 In doing so, they cleared away some of the 
medieval underbrush that stood between them and the nation-state. 




Passport controls in Europe are hardly a recent invention. The exigen- 
cies of rule in early modern Europe led states to take a considerable 
interest in strengthening their power to regulate the comings and 
goings of their subjects. The mercantilist policies pursued by these states 
entailed the general presupposition that population was tantamount to, 
or at least convertible into, wealth and military strength. Accordingly, 
these rulers had a powerful interest in identifying and controlling the 
movements of their subjects. This they sought to do with a variety of 
strictures on movement that frequently involved documents as the 
means for their enforcement. 

For example, with Prussia's Imperial Police Ordinances of 1548, beg- 
gars and vagrants "were banned as a threat to domestic peace, law, and 
order." Shortly thereafter, an edict of the Imperial Diet prohibited the 
issuance of "passes" to "gypsies and vagabonds [Landstreicher]," suggest- 
ing both that these two groups were in bad odor and that passes were 
required as part of the normal procedure for removing from one place 
to another, at least for those of the lower orders. 34 By the seventeenth 
century, German rulers made laws intended to tie servants more firmly 
to their masters, and thus also to squelch those bogeys of the official- 
dom, vagrancy and itinerancy. 35 

Meanwhile, across the Channel, similar developments had been afoot 
for some time. Despite the guarantee of the English subject's freedom to 
depart in the Magna Carta, a statute of 1381 forbade all but peers, notable 
merchants, and soldiers to leave the kingdom without a license. 36 Early 
modern English rulers were especially concerned that uncontrolled 
departures would facilitate religious deviance. 37 Then, not long after the 
English Civil War, an alleged upsurge in itinerancy generated by the desire 
of the destitute to turn up more generous rates of poor relief than were 
available in their native villages led the English monarch Charles II to 
adopt a law severely restricting movement from one parish to another. The 
"Act for the better Reliefe of the Poore of this Kingdom" of 1 662 s8 empow- 
ered the local authorities to remove to their place of legal settlement 
anyone "likely to be chargeable to the parish" - or, to put it in terms that 
would later become familiar in American immigration legislation, anyone 
"likely to become a public charge." At the same time, the law allowed 
migration for purposes of performing seasonal or other temporary labor, 
provided that the person or persons involved "carry with him or them a 
certificate from the minister of the parish and one of the churchwardens 
and one of the overseers for the poore" attesting to their legal domicile, to 
which they were required to return upon completion of such work. These 
laws governing movement helped to codify in law - and to implement in 



practice - a distinction between "local" and "foreign" poor, and notably 
referred to the place to which illegal settlers should be removed as their 
"native" residence. The act of removing oneself from one's place of birth 
thus appears to have been regarded as an anomaly, and may indeed have 
constituted a violation of the law without proper papers. 

To the east, trends toward enhanced documentary controls on move- 
ment received a powerful boost from Russian Czar, Peter the Great. 
Eager to advance Russia's standing among the Continental powers, 
Peter's modernizing reforms arose primarily from a desire to improve 
the country's military capabilities. In this enterprise Peter was smash- 
ingly successful, for by 1725 he had created the largest standing army in 
Europe. 39 Such armies required extensive recruitment and, conse- 
quently, systematic access to the young men of the country. One means 
for the state to gain such access was to restrict mobility by requiring 
documentation of movement and residence. Consistent with this aim, 
the Czar in the early eighteenth century promulgated a series of decrees 
regulating the domicile and travel of Russian subjects. An edict of 1719 
required anyone moving from one town or village to another to have in 
his (or less likely her) possession a pass from his superiors. 40 This ukase 
only broadened the provisions of the legal code of 1649 that had origi- 
nally consolidated the Russian pattern of serfdom, the very essence of 
which lay in its controls on peasant movements. 41 The use of documents 
as mechanisms of control made serfdom's legal restrictions on peasant 
movements easier to enforce. 

These examples demonstrate clearly that restrictions on personal 
freedom of movement related directly to two central questions facing 
burgeoning modern states: (1) how the economic advantages available 
in a particular area were to be divided up, whether these involved access 
to work or to poor relief; and (2) who would be required to perform 
military service, and how they would be constrained to do so. In other 
words, documentary controls on movement were decisively bound up 
with the rights and duties that would eventually come to be associated 
with membership - citizenship - in the nation-state. 

Until the ultimate triumph of capitalism and the nation-state in 
nineteenth-century Europe, however, controls on movement remained 
predominantly an "internal" matter. This fact reflected the powerfully 
local orientation of life and the law, as well as the persistence of mercan- 
tilist ideas about population-as-wealth and the relatively inchoate 
character of states and the international state system. Gradually, compe- 
tition among states set in motion processes of centralization that 
resulted in a winnowing of the number of competitors, such that only 
those states capable of mobilizing sufficient military and economic 
resources survived. 42 



In the course of these developments, rulers seeking to expand their 
domains and their grip on populations increasingly asserted their 
authority to determine who could come and go in their territories. For 
example, during the late medieval period in France, the legal concept of 
the "foreigner" shifted from the local to the "national" level (at this 
point the term can still only be applied anachronistically) , and from the 
private realm to that of the state, as a consequence of the royal usurpa- 
tion from the seigneurie of the so-called droit d'aubaine, according to 
which foreigners had been defined as those born outside the seigneurie. 

This [shift] created for the first time a kingdomwide status of foreigner 
and, correlatively, an embryonic legal status of French citizen or national. 
The legal distinction between French citizen and foreigner thus origi- 
nated in the late medieval consolidation of royal authority at the expense 
of seigneurial rights. 43 

The monopolization of the legitimate means of movement by states 
entailed their successful assertion of the authority to determine who 
"belonged" and who did not. The state's complete expropriation of the 
power to authorize movement would take some time to achieve, of 
course, but they were well on their way to making this monopoly a reality. 

To these more strictly political considerations must be added Karl 
Polanyi's compelling portrayal of the decisive role of the early modern 
state in weaving together local into national markets, a process that 
frequently involved the triumph of the central state against fierce local 
resistance. This gradual transformation facilitated a sea-change in con- 
ceptions of "internal" and "external" territory and thus in the nature of 
the restrictions on who could come and go, and with whose authoriza- 
tion. 44 As markets for labor power, in particular, became "nationalized," 
states asserted dominion over the right to determine who could move 
about and under what conditions. The general result of the process was 
that local borders were replaced by national ones, and that the chief dif- 
ficulty associated with human movement was entry into, not departure 
from, territorial spaces. The spread of identification documents such as 
passports was crucial to states' monopolization of the legitimate means 
of movement. But this would take some time to achieve in practice, and 
began by facing a sharp challenge from the libertarian elements in the 
French Revolution. It is to the events of that upheaval, typically thought 
of as the "birth of the nation-state," that we now turn. 





In his recent history of the state built by the French revolutionaries, Isser 
Woloch has noted that "passports and certificates of residence [became] 
extremely important documents as conscription became a way of life," 
and that "birth registers [were] the key to the whole process" of con- 
scription, a process Woloch rightly regards as the revolutionaries' most 
significant, enduring, yet improbable institutional achievement. 1 While 
Woloch is correct that the success of conscription depended on bureau- 
cratic mechanisms designed to identify and regulate the movements of 
the citizenry, this approach to state administration would first have to 
overcome vigorous antipathy toward such means by many of the partici- 
pants in the revolutionary project. 

Passport controls, in particular, had been a vital mechanism of domina- 
tion under the old regime in France, and were clearly regarded as such by 
those who made the revolution there in the late eighteenth century. 
Among the many restrictions to which the French revolutionaries 
objected was a 1669 edict of Louis XIV that had forbidden his subjects to 
leave the territory of France, as well as to related requirements that those 
quitting the Kingdom be in possession of a passport authorizing them to 
do so. 2 In addition, commoners on the move within eighteenth-century 
France were technically required to have one of two documents: a pass- 
port issued by the town hall in the traveler's native village or the so-called 
aveu, an attestation of upright character from local religious authorities. 

The principal purpose of these documentary requirements was to 
forestall any undesired migration to the cities, especially Paris. They 
were at least occasionally effective in achieving their aims. Yet, as 
Richard Cobb has pointed out: "France had a population that, in its vast 



majority, walked; and there is no one more difficult to control than the 
pedestrian." 3 Rather than issuing documents, under these circumstances 
simply closing the gates of the town was a highly successful means of con- 
trolling pedestrians, as viewers of the film version of Victor Hugo's Les 
Miserables may recall. People who do not move in a container of some 
sort are difficult to constrain, and the effort to restrict them may entail 
turning the area to be controlled itself into a container. 

Notwithstanding the documentary requirements in force in old 
regime France, passports had a notorious propensity to go "lost," in 
which case replacements were to be secured in the area in which the 
traveler then found him- or herself (arrangements drastically at odds 
with the situation today, where those who attempt to cross an interna- 
tional border without satisfactory documentation are normally denied 
entry or returned immediately to their point of departure). Even the 
most unsavory figures apparently found it possible thus to get their 
hands on the papers they needed, even though they might have been 
denied them by the authorities in their place of origin. "Hence," as 
Olwen Hufton has put it, "possession of a passport was not conclusive 
evidence of innocence, and lack of one did not prove guilt." 1 Passport 
restrictions were a nuisance for many, to be sure, but administrative 
laxity and the well-meaning assistance of a variety of benefactors 
frequently made a mockery of the state's use of documentary controls as 
a means of regulating movement. 

Despite the relative ease with which passport requirements could 
often be skirted, these controls on movement appeared among the 
many complaints regarding royal government and feudal organization 
that were presented in the cahiers de doleances during the meeting of the 
Estates General convened at Versailles in early 1789. Thus article 2 of the 
cahiers of the parish of Neuilly-sur-Marne pleaded: 

As every man is equal before God and every sojourner in this life must be 
left undisturbed in his legitimate possessions, especially in his natural and 
political life, it is the wish of this assembly that individual liberty be guaran- 
teed to all the French, and therefore that each must be free to move about 
or to come, within and outside the Kingdom, without permissions, pass- 
ports, or other formalities that tend to hamper the liberty of its citizens. . . 5 

On this view, passport controls and other "formalities" associated with 
physical mobility undermined the natural and civil rights of the French. 

In a debate that would last throughout the revolutionary period and 
beyond, however, other petitioners to the Estates General demanded 
more vigorous enforcement of the existing passport controls in the 
interest of greater public security. For example, the order of the noblesse 
du bailliage of Montargis urged in its cahiers that those charged with the 



maintenance of public security be required to exercise "the most metic- 
ulous oversight over the certificates and passports of vagabonds and 
those without an aveu." 6 Yet one should bear in mind Georges Lefebvre's 
estimation that the cahiers of the bailiwicks (bailliages) are even less rep- 
resentative of the popular will than the grievances expressed by other 
jurisdictions - which already tended to mute the voices of the peasantry 
- because their betters often "simply eliminated from the original lists 
those demands which displeased them or did not interest them." 7 As the 
passport and the aveu were instruments of social control that plagued 
primarily the lower orders, the demand of the Montargis notables may 
well have reflected a bias in favor of the views of the privileged strata. 

The representatives to the Estates General thus vied contentiously over 
the liberty of people to circulate in France without documentary attesta- 
tion, and the issue carried over into the discussions of the Constituent 
Assembly after the fall of the Bastille. As a consequence of the Tennis 
Court Oath, according to which the revolutionaries had pledged in late 
June 1789 not to leave Paris without completing work on a new constitu- 
tion, 8 the assembly ironically found itself on 9 October 1789 discussing the 
freedom of its own members to move about. The "October Days" had 
begun, and the Assembly was under intense pressure to resolve food short- 
ages that had galvanized the common people into action. 

The debate was joined after the president of the house sought the 
authority to issue or deny the passports that had been requested of him 
by various members of the Assembly. Dividing the two sides of the debate 
was the question whether one could limit the freedom of the deputies by 
denying them passports, on the one hand, and whether deputies should 
leave their posts in the country's hour of need, particularly given that 
the foot-soldiers of the nation would not be allowed to do so, on the 
other. In the end, the Assembly granted its president the authority to 
issue passports to its members, thus making the liberal choice that free- 
dom of movement was to be preferred to constraint, even under 
conditions of substantial domestic political tension. 9 The forces support- 
ing free movement seem to have gained the high ground more generally 
as well, for according to Donald Greer, a prominent historian of the 
revolutionary emigration: "During the greater part of the period . . . 
1789-1792, Frenchmen were free to go and come as they pleased." 10 

Yet Greer's judgment here is misleading in at least two respects. First, 
contrary to what our contemporary sensibilities might lead us to expect, 
the freedom to come and go to which Greer refers was not restricted to 
the native population. With the outbreak of the revolution, France had 
welcomed into its bosom a considerable number of persons not of 
French origin, many of whom were political refugees from their noble- 
dominated countries and favorably predisposed toward revolutionary 



ideology. Such "friends of liberty" were widely indulged in the cos- 
mopolitanism of the revolutionaries. 11 Second and more importantly, 
one must bear in mind that this was a period of grain riots, rural revolt, 
and ultimately the threat of foreign invasion and war. Many people long 
familiar with the restrictions on movement characteristic of the ancien 
regime remained anxious about the idea of free-floating marauders and 
the footloose poor coming and going as they pleased. Greer's estimate 
thus misleads because it focuses upon the freedom of the French to 
enter and leave their country rather than on the liberty to move within 
the Kingdom, which at this point remained very much a live issue - 
indeed, for most of the French, the primary one. 

Greer's optimistic view of freedom of movement among the French 
during this period sits awkwardly, for example, with the evidence of a 
decree of the National Assembly dated 30 May - 13 June 1790. The mea- 
sure was provoked when the Assembly learned that "a great number of 
foreign mendicants" were taking advantage of the poor relief in Paris to 
the detriment of the indigenous indigent. The term "foreigner" here 
applied principally to French citizens from outside the capital. In order 
to assert greater control over eligibility for poor relief in France's princi- 
pal city, the decree required every non-French beggar or person without 
an aveu who had not been domiciled in Paris for at least one year, as well 
as mendicant French persons resident in Paris for less than six months, to 
leave Paris and to obtain a passport indicating the route they would fol- 
low in leaving the Kingdom or returning to their native place. Those who 
departed from the route indicated in their passports, or who stopped 
along the way for any length of time, were to be arrested by the national 
guards or departmental police and required to explain themselves. 12 

The persistence of these kinds of restrictions soon provoked the ire of 
a commentator named "Peuchet," who was given space in Le Moniteur, 
one of the principal outlets for revolutionary debate, to publish a 
scathing indictment of "the slavery of passports" in mid-1790. Insisting 
that the French state had delivered up the individual's "movements and 
his conduct to a surveillance as extensive as it is dangerous" and that 
every person should be free "to breathe the air he chooses without hav- 
ing to ask permission from a master that can refuse him that right," 
Peuchet declared passports "contrary to every principle of justice and 
reason" and demanded their abolition. He also noted that, as the provi- 
sions of the law discussed above suggest, the constraints on freedom 
represented by passport requirements fell especially hard on "the poor 
and obscure class of people." 13 In Peuchet's liberal view, passport con- 
trols were part and parcel of the tyrannical, freedom-choking strictures 
of the ancien regime. In response to criticism of his remarks, which were 
interpreted by his detractors as "favoring those guilty of crimes" because 



the abolition of passports would allegedly allow them to escape the grasp 
of the law, Peuchet retorted that this was far from his aim, which con- 
cerned the fundamental human right to come and go: "To allow a man 
to travel is to allow him to do something that one has no right to deny: it 
is a social injustice." 14 . 


These criticisms of the restraints on freedom of movement notwithstand- 
ing, attitudes toward free circulation in France changed dramatically with 
the flight of the King on 21 June 1791. The stage had already been set 
for a backlash against free movement during the previous months. In 
February, the departure of the King's aunts had caused a furor in the 
radical press and given rise to stillborn efforts of the Constituent 
Assembly to stiffen emigration controls. 15 Then, in March and April, 
Pope Pius VI officially condemned both the principles of the revolution 
and the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, and "in an act of incalculable 
importance the Church of Rome opposed its doctrine to the Declaration 
of the Rights of Man and Citizen." 16 Those inclined toward counterrevo- 
lutionary activity were greatly heartened by the Church's stance. Against 
this background, Louis XVI absconded for Varennes disguised as a valet. 
In a state of shocked alarm at the King's attempted escape, the National 
Assembly mandated a complete halt to departures from the Kingdom 
and the arrest of anyone attempting to leave. 17 

The Assembly debate over responsibility for authorizing the passports 
under which the King's party had traveled revealed considerable admin- 
istrative confusion in this area. In order to clarify the circumstances 
under which the royal retinue had sought to make off, the Assembly 
summoned Louis XVTs foreign minister, Montmorin, to its chambers to 
explain how they had come into possession of their passports. The for- 
eign minister was accused of having furnished the passports under 
assumed names, and thus of collaborating in the King's escape attempt. 
In response to the Assembly's inquiry, Montmorin noted that "with the 
large number of passports [the foreign minister] signs, it is impossible 
for him to verify whether the name of the persons who request them is 
true or false." Clearly, a great deal of administrative rationalization 
would be required before we would reach our present state, in which the 
effort to acquire documents under an assumed name involves consider- 
able difficulty and ingenuity. 

Ultimately, Montmorin was absolved of having surreptitiously issued 
the passports under assumed names. The King had masqueraded as a 
valet during the escape attempt, but he was able to do this because 



passports for the nobility typically included a number of persons listed 
by their function but without further description ("a valet"), and not as 
a result of any connivance on the foreign minister's part. The judgment 
of his innocence came none too soon for Montmorin, whose house was 
being besieged by crowds who held him responsible for facilitating the 
King's getaway. The Assembly immediately sent four representatives to 
announce its findings and thus, it hoped, to forestall any harm to 
Montmorin 's person or property at the hands of the angry mob. 18 

Tempers and apprehensions flared throughout France in the after- 
math of the royal escape attempt. According to Georges Lefebvre, "no 
one doubted that the King's flight heralded invasion," and the National 
Assembly thus added to its prohibition on departures a call-up of 169 
infantry battalions to be raised from among the National Guard. 
Frontier garrisons prepared for invasion. A "great fear" swept the coun- 
try, provoking violent retribution against aristocrats and refractory 
priests as well as attacks on their property. 19 

With the spectre of aristocratic conspiracies stalking the land, the 
King's flight not only provoked the deputies of the Constituent Assembly 
to seal the borders; it also appears to have inflamed rogue popular forces 
to throttle departures from Paris of which they disapproved. On 22 June 
1791, the city's mayor issued an order enjoining the Parisian citizenry to 
permit the exit from the city of those equipped with passports, which he 
promised would be issued with "discretion and prudence." 20 Under these 
conditions, possession of a passport bore witness to the revolutionary 
state's approval of movement by its bearer; it thus functioned as a "safe- 
conduct" of a kind that would later be associated only with movement 
into other sovereign jurisdictions, at least in times of peace. This would 
not be the last time that extralegal elements would contest the state's 
monopoly on the legitimate right to authorize movement. Indeed, this 
sort of popular usurpation of the "legitimate means of movement" is 
typical of situations in which states are being revolutionized or have 

Despite the move to close the borders in response to the King's flight, 
the revolutionary Assembly was, like the Parisian authorities, beset by a 
concern to insure freedom of movement throughout the interior of the 
country. Accordingly, the Constituent Assembly only three days later 
decreed that it was necessary to uphold the right to "free circulation of 
persons and things," at least up to a distance of ten limes from the bor- 
der, and that all the administrative, municipal, and military authorities 
should cooperate to guarantee such freedom. The proponent of the 
decree defended it above all on administrative grounds, noting that the 
Assembly's various measures to defend the Kingdom would be futile "if 
the couriers carrying these orders are stopped in every municipality 



along the way in order to undergo verification of their passports." 21 At 
this point, at least, the leaders of the revolution wanted to open up the 
French territorial space to free movement on administrative, commer- 
cial, and liberty grounds. Frontier areas were regarded as "hot," 
however, for here the administrative and municipal organs were to 
"keep watch meticulously." 22 

Then, just a week after slamming shut the gates to departures of 
French citizens from France, the Assembly also decreed that foreigners 
and French merchants would be free to leave the Kingdom. Before 
doing so, however, foreigners were to be in possession of a passport 
supplied by the ambassador from their own country or by the French 
ministry of foreign affairs, whereas the French merchants were required 
to obtain a passport from their own or the nearest district capital. In 
order to avoid a repetition of the sort of disguised escape attempted 
by the King, article 7 of the decree mandated that "all passports are to 
contain the number of persons to whom they are given, their names, 
their age, their description, and the parish inhabited by those who have 
obtained them, who are obliged to sign both the register of passports 
and the passports themselves." 23 This provision had been included in the 
final decree after a member of the Assembly had found insufficient the 
passport requirements for departure from the realm. Without descrip- 
tions (les signalements) , this critic admonished, those who wished to slip 
out of the country would have had little difficulty doing so. 24 

In early August 1791, the Constituent Assembly sought to enhance 
French strength by encouraging the many frightened and disillusioned 
emigres who had departed after the outbreak of the revolution to return 
home. As Greer has put it, this was "a prelude dolce to the later harsh leg- 
islation" on emigration and the emigres. The law upheld the ban on 
departures from the country and enjoined those who had left after 1 July 
1789, to return within one month. "Those who complied were to suffer 
no penalties; those who disobeyed were to be fined by the triplication of 
their taxes concurrent with their absence." But the law was weak and 
remained in force only a little more than a month, when the National 
Assembly nullified it. 25 Despite the apparently conciliatory attitude toward 
the emigres expressed by the Assembly in this law, worse - much worse - 
awaited those who had left France after the onset of the revolution. 

What is remarkable about all these regulations from our contempo- 
rary standpoint is that the group whose movements the defenders of the 
revolution were concerned to regulate consisted primarily of their fel- 
low French citizens. Not without reason, the revolutionary leadership 
regarded the emigres - as potential enemies of the revolution in league 
with the King, reactionary priests and nobles, and foreign powers - as a 
profound threat to its survival. 26 And of course there were many others 



who were viewed with suspicion, and hence as deserving of surveillance 
and sharpened control. A notion of "foreignness" underlay this attitude, 
but it was not the same as that now-familiar version that reflects the 
rivalries of narcissistic nation-states. In his famous pamphlet "What is 
the Third Estate?" of January 1789, the Abbe Sieyes had written of the 
nobility: "This class is assuredly foreign to the nation because of its 
do-nothing idleness." 27 This "political" rather than national definition of 
the foreigner owed everything to the fact that the revolution had burst 
upon the stage of world history by defining "the nation" principally in 
terms that excluded a slothful, parasitic nobility, rather than people 
from other countries. 

At this point, at least, the term "foreigners" therefore applied as 
much to those who opposed the revolution, regardless of their "national" 
origins, as it did to persons not of French birth. Reflecting this cos- 
mopolitan view, one contemporary commentator tellingly remarked, 
"The only foreigners in France are bad citizens." 28 Foreignness in the 
legal sense remained a murky business. The clarification of the legal 
concept of the foreigner, whose movements were to be restricted as such, 
would first require much impassioned debate and bureaucratic develop- 
ment, and would ultimately be forged in the fires of military conflict. 29 
Noiriel has written that the modern conception of the "foreigner" came 
into being with the French Revolution as a result of the elimination of 
feudal privileges on 4 August 1789, which formally created a national 
community of all French citizens. 30 This Act was, however, in inherent 
and insoluble tension with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and 
Citizen, which proclaimed the equality of all individuals and thus tended 
to promote the rights of foreigners as such. Ever since, politics have been 
driven by the dynamics deriving from that tension. 

In an important contribution to the newly proclaimed equality of 
French citizens, the revolutionaries began to move during this time 
toward the codification of a uniform national space in which goods and 
persons would be permitted to circulate freely. One of the first steps taken 
by the leaders of the revolution to obliterate local particularism in favor of 
national integration had been the creation of departements to replace the 
old provinces into which France had traditionally been divided. In the 
process, it took the names of the eighty-three new departments from their 
geographical features and replaced the thirty-six royal intendancies with 
new departmental capitals in order to sweep away the spatial relics of the 
ancien regime. The departmentalization of France was designed to achieve 
the aim laid out by Sieyes in September 1789: "France is and ought to be a 
single whole, uniformly subordinated in all its parts to a single legislation 
and one common [system of] administration." 31 In furtherance of this 



objective, the National Assembly gradually pushed outward to the 
"national" borders the toll barriers for goods. 32 Georges Lefebvre 
counted the smiting down of internal frontiers among the chief results 
of the revolution; a uniform administration was created before which 
each and every French citizen stood equally, at least in theory, and "the 
national market was realized, insofar as means of communication 
permitted it." 33 Yet the right to untrammeled internal freedom of move- 
ment still remained to be achieved. 


Not long after the uproar sparked by the King's flight and the attendant 
restrictions on the movements of the French, the National Assembly 
completed its new constitution for France after two and a half years' 
work. When it did so, the matter of controls on movement occupied a 
central place in its deliberations. The first three "natural and civil rights" 
promulgated by the Assembly were relatively general provisions dealing 
with equality before the law. Then, the very first concrete "natural and 
civil right" guaranteed by the Constitution of 3-14 September 1791, was 
that of the freedom "to move about, to remain, [and] to leave." 34 
Although the ordering of the articles may have been somewhat arbi- 
trary, this article preceded even the Constitution's enumeration of those 
rights that Americans, at least, normally think of as foundational - 
namely, freedom of speech and assembly. 35 

The Assembly became more specific about its defense of the freedom 
of movement on 13 September. During that day's deliberations, the 
Marquis de Lafayette proposed - and the Assembly greeted with sus- 
tained applause - the abolition of all controls, especially including 
passports, on the movements of the French citizenry, as well as an end to 
the order mandating the pursuit and arrest of emigres that had been 
imposed in the 21 June decree barring departures. 36 The decree as 
adopted stated that "there will no longer be any obstacles impeding the 
right of every French citizen to travel freely within the realm, and to 
leave it at will," and specifically eliminated passports. Flush with the glow 
of having set out a document recognizing the equality of all French citi- 
zens before the law, the revolutionaries were in an expansive mood that 
extended even to forgiveness for the emigres. The records of the pro- 
ceedings indicate that the members of the Assembly believed they were 
making a major contribution to the cause of human freedom when they 
abolished passport controls on the French people, which they viewed as 
part and parcel of the arbitrary power of the ancien regime? 1 



Soon, however, the practical implications of this much-ballyhooed 
liberalization began to make themselves clear. Greer has described the 
results as follows: 

The consequences were ominous. The emigres of yesterday met the 
emigres of tomorrow on the roads to the frontiers, and the latter 
outnumbered the former. Those who had hoped that the amnesty would 
inaugurate a phase of reconciliation were disillusioned and alarmed. 38 

There was reason enough for alarm; hostile armies, of emigres and their 
allies, were massing beyond the Rhine. 

In response, the Legislative Assembly - a newly constituted body with 
entirely different membership and perspectives than its predecessor - 
passed a decree on 9 November 1791, declaring all French persons gath- 
ered outside the borders of the Kingdom to be under suspicion of 
conspiracy against the patrie. Anyone still so assembled after 1 January 
was to be considered guilty of such conspiracy and subject to the death 
penalty. 39 The decree was rendered ineffectual, however, when the King, 
whose approval was required for the enactment of the Assembly's laws, 
vetoed it. The Bill nonetheless reflected a dramatic shift in mood from 
the ebullient September days. It was during this period that the Gironde 
rose to prominence under the leadership of Brissot, Vergniaud, and 
others, and "leftist" measures found increasing resonance in the 
Legislative Assembly. 40 

At the same time, the change of mood within and the growing fears 
of invasion from without led some departements, especially on the fron- 
tiers, to intensify passport and other controls on foreigners. For 
example, the departement du Nord issued regulations in mid-December 
1791 requiring foreigners (etrangers) entering its villages and towns to 
present themselves to the authorities to have their passports checked 
and to receive (or be denied) permission to remain. A census was also 
to be kept so that the authorities would be in a position to inform the 
departmental directory about "the measures taken by the municipali- 
ties to prevent gatherings of foreigners" and "to insure the most exact 
policing with respect to foreigners." 41 It was not only frontier depart- 
ments that went ahead and abrogated the National Assembly's 
pronouncements when they felt the need; in the debate over the 
reintroduction of passport controls in the Assembly in early 1792, one 
member noted that the departement of Maine-et-Loire, north-east of the 
Vendee, had also decided to reinstitute passport controls during the 
preceding months. 42 

It was with little steps such as this that the definition of the "foreigner" 
during the revolution slowly drifted toward the notion which nowadays 
has come to be taken for granted: that is, a foreigner is someone from 



another country whose trustworthiness is questionable. Indeed, accord- 
ing to Sophie Wahnich, with this ordinance the surveillance of 
foreigners becomes institutionalized "not simply in the order of normal- 
ized police practices, but in the order of writing . . . [T]he process of 
identification comes into conflict with the free circulation of persons 
. . ." 4S State officials were beginning to recognize that surveillance of 
untrustworthy elements defined in a priori terms - separate and apart 
from any actions they might have committed - had to be codified in writ- 
ing, for there is no other way to identify "the foreigner." 

The matter of revolutionary hospitality toward foreigners had hardly 
yet been definitively decided, however. Only two weeks after the promul- 
gation of the departement du Nord decree, the philosopher Condorcet 
delivered himself of an eloquent speech insisting that France would never 
give itself over to a narrow-minded nationalism, even in time of war: 

The asylum that [France] opens to foreigners will never be closed to the 
inhabitants of countries whose princes have forced us to attack them, and 
they will find in its womb a secure refuge. Faithful to the commitments 
made in its name, [France] hastens to fulfill them with a generous exacti- 
tude. The dangers it faces may not permit it to forget that French soil 
belongs entirely to freedom, and that the law of equality must be univer- 
sal. It presents to the world the novel spectacle of a nation truly free, 
subject to the rules of justice despite being caught up in the storms of war, 
and respecting everywhere and at all times with regard to all people the 
rights that are the same for all. 44 

Yet Condorcet's revolutionary cosmopolitanism would be put to the test 
soon enough. Brissot declared on 31 December that "the time has come 
for a new crusade, a crusade for universal freedom." 45 Whether this 
beautiful crusade was intended to install human freedom or French 
domination in the territories to which it advanced depended, however, 
on the eye of the beholder. In any case, many in France itself did not 
share Condorcet's openness to outsiders - whether legal foreigners or 
mere "strangers" - as war loomed on the horizon. 

Around this time, for example, the municipal government of Paris 
found it necessary to rein in the confusion surrounding another type of 
document used by the state to "embrace" individuals, the "certificates of 
residence." The commissioners responsible for their issuance had 
informed the city's leaders that these important papers were "multiplying 
toward infinity." Thenceforward, instead of being issued by the authorities 
immediately upon demand, the certificates were to be requested, signed, 
and registered by two different agencies, and were only to be delivered 
after a hiatus of two days from the initial request. 46 By slowing the process 
down and making it more complicated, the municipal government 
decided, the administration would be less likely to give out these valuable 



documents to undeserving persons - a matter of some concern to a city 
plagued by the intensifying demands of revolutionary upheaval. 

Aside from merely authorizing domicile in particular places, certifi- 
cates of residence were closely tied in to the provision of public welfare, 
particularly pensions. A decree handed down by the Legislative 
Assembly in December 1791 required that anyone - with the exception 
of merchants appropriately vouched for by municipal authorities - 
receiving a variety of payments from the public purse had to produce a 
certificate attesting that he or she currently resided in the French 
Empire, and had done so without interruption for the previous six 
months. The certificate of residence was to be issued by the municipality 
where the person was actually domiciled, and visaed within eight days by 
the district directory. 47 In a move that presaged practices that would 
grow commonplace as welfare states began to take hold on a national 
scale, the Legislative Assembly sought to ease the strain on French 
coffers by tightening eligibility for state transfer payments - as well as its 
documentary attestation. Although they go unmentioned in the text of 
the decree, this measure was obviously directed at the emigres, who were 
thought to have rendered themselves unworthy of public largesse 
during the previous six months by fleeing the patrie'm its hour of need. 


The ranks of those in the Assembly inclined to reverse course regarding 
the freedom of movement in general, and passport controls in particu- 
lar, swelled in proportion to the darkening of the clouds of war. 
Controversy in the Legislative Assembly over the reintroduction of 
passport restrictions thus grew boisterous early in 1792, as war came to 
seem increasingly imminent. On 7 January Assembly Member Le Coz, 
Bishop of the Breton departement of Ille-et-Vilaine, rose to demand that 
the Assembly take action on a steady stream of petitions from the departe- 
ments throughout France which, at least so he claimed, complained of 
the upsurge in brigandage that had followed the suppression of passport 
controls, and pleaded with his colleagues for their reestablishment. 48 

Le Coz was very much on the side of those who wished to restore 
passport restrictions. During the course of the parliamentary debate that 
his pleas initiated - a debate that extended over several days and gener- 
ated considerable passion and eloquence - Le Coz would dub passports 
the "Argus of the patrie." 49 (In classical mythology, Argus was a monster 
with many eyes who was therefore regarded as a good watchman.) It is 
perhaps noteworthy that Le Coz coined this phrase almost simultane- 
ously with Jeremy Bentham's proposal in the early 1 790s of what Karl 
Polanyi called Bentham's "most personal Utopia," the Panopticon. 50 



The participants in the controversy over the reintroduction of pass- 
port controls during the French Revolution gave expression to a number 
of motifs that would reappear later as prominent features in other leg- 
islative debates about passport restrictions. It is thus useful to examine 
the debate in some detail. To begin with, however, both sides in the 
debate recognized that the requirement that travelers be in possession of 
a passport entailed a certain presumption of guilt - a presupposition that 
travelers were up to no good and might be moving about under pre- 
tenses contrary to those deemed acceptable by the revolutionary regime. 

For the advocates of the reinstitution of passport controls on the 
French citizenry, however, such requirements comprised a tolerable 
infringement on freedom in defense of the revolution's broader achieve- 
ments. Joseph Francois Lemalliaud, an Assembly representative from the 
Breton departement of Morbihan and a staunch supporter of the revolu- 
tion, 51 articulated this view in his comments on an agitated letter from the 
Morbihan procurer-general demanding the reintroduction of passports in 
order to get the upper hand over the "brigands" who "infested the roads" 
of that region. Passport requirements, according to Lemalliaud, "may per- 
haps afflict the bad citizens, but the true friends of liberty would gladly 
support this minor inconvenience." In other words, genuine patriots 
would accept that their freedom might be modestly curtailed in order to 
defend the larger freedoms won by the revolution - freedoms that were 
being threatened by homegrown counterrevolutionaries, emigres, and 
autocratic foreign powers. These petty restrictions were not too much to 
ask of true defenders of the greater liberties won by the revolution. 

Lemalliaud 's proposal was seconded by another Assembly representa- 
tive who noted that the nearby departement of Maine-et-Loire (Anjou) had 
already felt compelled to reestablish passport controls and that "substan- 
tial contingents of troops composed of brigands and those without an 
aveu are forming at the borders" of Brittany and Anjou. In this view, the 
lack of an aveu was itself evidence of counterrevolutionary intent; the 
obvious remedy was to reassert and strengthen the authority of the state 
to authorize and regulate movement. The widespread enthusiasm for the 
reintroduction of passport controls among revolutionaries from these 
areas arose from the fact that they were plagued by popular disturbances 
during this period. In August, aristocrats and refractory priests had 
provoked disturbances in the Vendee, immediately south-west of the 
Maine-et-Loire, and rightists fomented trouble throughout the region 
during subsequent months. 52 One of the deputies objected that the pass- 
port could not simply be reintroduced without the matter being 
discussed by the Assembly's Committee on Legislation, but the Assembly 
declared passport requirements restored and directed that committee to 
report the following day on "how to make this measure effective." 53 



The rapporteur of the committee on legislation, an ally of Lemalliaud 
from Ille-et-Vilaine named Codet, responded to the Assembly's request 
with a proposed law to reestablish passport controls "temporarily." 54 The 
committee argued that, "in this moment of crisis," foreigners required 
"the particular attention of the administrative bodies." The hearts of 
.some foreigners were "entirely French," to be sure, but others were 
suspects, traitors prepared "to betray the sacred rights of hospitality." 
Therefore, "without molesting foreigners too much," the committee 
urged the Assembly to "watch them with the most scrupulous attention 
... to follow their paths and foil their plots." In order to facilitate the 
achievement of these ends, all travelers within France were to have their 
passports visaed in every district, while those leaving the Kingdom were 
to submit to this formality at the directory of the frontier departement 
where they would be crossing the border. To carry out these bureau- 
cratic tasks, the committee's proposal authorized all gendarmes and 
active National Guardsmen to examine passports, and empowered all 
officers of the gendarmerie to issue warrants for the arrest of those with- 
out a valid passport. The bill proposed penalties for those who refused 
properly to identify themselves to the state, for failure to do so "renders 
one culpable, manifests perverse intentions, contravenes the law . . ." 

As he introduced the bill into the Assembly, Codet noted that the 
committee found important sources for its proposal in earlier decrees of 
the Constituent Assembly, particularly its "Law on the Municipal Police" 
of 19 July 1791. 55 That law included a requirement that municipal 
authorities conduct a census of all inhabitants, as well as a register of the 
declarations of those canvassed that was to include a variety of personal 
information such as name, age, place of birth, previous domicile, occu- 
pation, and means of subsistence. Those lacking the last mentioned 
were to indicate the name of a local resident who was prepared to vouch 
for them. Workers without either means of subsistence or a sponsor were 
to be registered as gens sans aveu; those who failed to indicate a previous 
domicile as "suspicious persons" (gens suspects) ; and, finally, those shown 
to have made false declarations were to be identified as "ill-intentioned 
persons" (gens malintentionnes) . 

The committee then recommended as an "indispensable condition" 
that every passport include an extract of the person's municipal declara- 

If the traveler is honest, his passport will be an advantageous document 
for him, and it will flatter him; if he is not honest, it is necessary that his 
passport will put him under surveillance throughout the Kingdom . . . 
With this correspondence [of passport and municipal register], the law on 
passports will complement all the other measures already taken for the 
security of the realm. 36 



Despite the general perception that passport requirements constituted 
an illiberal restriction on the freedom of movement, Codet was arguing, 
in effect, that these documents would protect the "honest" man while 
helping to flush out the politically or morally dubious. 

In the course of the debate, the Jacobin firebrand Jean-Francois 
Delacroix expanded upon this notion, suggesting that the passport, far 
from entailing a presumption of guilt, was in fact a "certificate of pro- 
bity" insuring the security of those traveling in France. 57 There was 
something in Delacroix's view: if state authorities had the right to 
demand some independent verification of a person's identity and some 
justification of his or her whereabouts, as Codet had insisted they did, 
possession of a document attesting to these matters would provide a cer- 
tain security to the would-be traveler. Only under conditions of pure 
freedom to come and go, irrespective of who or what a person is, would 
a passport constitute nothing but a restriction. Once the genie of the 
state's authority to identify persons and authorize their movements is 
out of the bottle, it is hard to get him back in. And, from long years of 
experience under the ancien regime, most of the French took for granted 
that that genie was loose on the world; perhaps, many of them must have 
thought, it had always been so. Gradually, however, a distinction would 
emerge between identification documents as such and passports autho- 
rizing travel, opening up the possibility for states to eliminate the latter 
without giving up their essential capacity to "embrace" individuals by 
means of documentary identification practices. 

Those opposed to the resurrection of passport controls took a sharply 
different view of the probable consequences of their restoration. Far 
from regarding the reintroduction of passport controls as a small price to 
pay for defending the revolution's larger gains, these critics saw the res- 
urrection of social control techniques characteristic of the ancien regimeas 
a reversal of the newfound freedom that the revolution had inaugurated, 
and therefore as likely to undermine popular support for the revolution- 
ary project. This view was expressed by Stanislas Girardin of the 
departement of the Oise (north of Paris), a one-time pupil of Rousseau 
who moved from left to right in the course of the revolution. One of the 
most stirring and impassioned critics of the new passport law, Girardin 
besought his fellow deputies not to adopt such an "inquisitorial" law: 

A nation that claims to have a constitution cannot enchain the liberty of its 
citizens to the extent that you propose. A revolution that commenced with 
the destruction of passports must insure a sufficient measure of freedom 
to travel, even in times of crisis. 

Certainly not all would agree with Girardin 's characterization of the 
revolution's origins, but his statement suggests the significance that 



many of the deputies attributed to the passport question and its implica- 
tions for the fate of the revolution. The royalist Vienot-Vaublanc of the 
neighboring departement of Seine-et-Marne supported Girardin's motion 
to delay consideration of the "inquisitorial" law's individual articles until 
after the impending weekend, provoking cries from the gallery when 
he suggested that overhasty decisions might make of France "a convent 
in which liberty is recognized in name only." 58 Vienot-Vaublanc may 
have been extraordinarily prescient in his opposition to the renewal of 
passport controls; after the revolution of 10 August 1792, he was forced 
to go underground and to traverse France on foot. 59 


When the Assembly reconvened on Monday, 27 January, the matter of 
the passport law was their central preoccupation; 60 a vigorous debate 
then unfolded that lasted for the next three days. The Breton Codet 
began the discussion by defending the restrictions anew as a small sacri- 
fice of liberty in favor of the defense of the larger liberty that, in his view, 
the revolution had wrought. He went on to remind the Assembly that 
the laws would, in any case, only affect the minority of the population 
that actually moved about. Codet asserted that the vast majority of those 
who traveled were honest people who, without passports, had no way of 
demonstrating that they were such, nor of being certain that the people 
they met on the roads would be well-disposed toward them. In short, 
according to Codet, only the tiny minority of gens suspects and gens malin- 
tentionnes could possibly be opposed to passport requirements for travel. 

To this defense of the passport requirements, a deputy named 
Lemontey retorted that giving in to the demands of those departements 
that were demanding the reinstitution of the passport would result in 
disaster. It was true, he conceded, that there were foreigners with strong 
antipathies toward the revolution, and he had no objection in principle 
to keeping them under surveillance. Lemontey insisted that he was not 
far from supporting the passport restrictions, but only if the controls 
"leave nothing to arbitrariness" and would not "defame us in the eyes of 
Europe": "[T]he law that has been proposed is a symptom of weakness, 
of distrust, of internal sickness . . . What foreign power would desire the 
friendship of a government wracked with civil division and sacrificing its 
principles to its needs and its passions?" Lemontey objected to what he 
felt was the limitless, arbitrary power - "a permanent tyranny," he called 
it - that was being handed over to the municipal authorities. Like 
Girardin before him, Lemontey feared that a move such as this on the 
part of the revolutionary leadership would only "augment the number 
of malcontents. The welfare of the state is in this word: Make them love 



the Constitution; it is imperishable." Lemontey concluded by arguing 
that the law would stimulate massive emigration from France on the part 
of those "weak and fearful" persons who remain only because they 
assume they can leave if the situation becomes unbearable for them. 
There was an element of sophistry in this argument, of course, but the 
opponents of the passport law sensed that they were on the defensive. 

Another deputy advanced a rather more creative response to the 
proposed law by turning its attack on vagabondage and brigandage into 
a justification for land redistribution: would it not be possible, he 
wondered, to give the itinerant indigent some of the lands lying fallow 
that were now in the possession of the nation as a result of the extensive 
confiscations of estates and Church lands? The landless poor would then 
have work and sustenance, and hence no reason for taking to the roads 
as they normally did in times of need. This member was not opposed in 
principle to restricting the movements of foreigners and enemies of the 
revolution, however; far from it. Indeed, he proposed that foreigners 
traveling in France be required to make a declaration to the municipal 
authorities wherever they found themselves, and urged that the machin- 
ery be set in motion to deport recidivists who were gens sans aveu, gens 
suspects, or gens malintentionnes: "This is the only means to purge our 
political body of that scum that causes fevered and convulsive move- 
ments throughout the country." 

In response, Le Coz, the bishop from Ille-et-Vilaine, returned to the 
podium to mount a spirited defense of the need for the passport restric- 
tions. Le Coz's remarks betrayed the classic illiberal assumption, 
embodied for example in many of today's drug-testing proposals, that 
anyone who refused to cooperate with the authorities in these procedures 
was guilty - of something. Bishop Le Coz went on to advance the inge- 
nious argument that the law "would establish among our departements a 
chain of relationships and of surveillance that would be as favorable to the 
well-meaning man as it would be terrible to the scoundrel." In other 
words, such requirements would facilitate the administrative unification 
and domination of the country. Passport controls, moreover, would allow 
the national gendarmerie to ask "the unknown traveler, in the name of 
the law, 'Who are you?'" The fundamental point here, as Gerard Noiriel 
has pointed out, is that "written documents [are] the quintessential 
instrument of communication at a distance," 61 and such means were 
necessary aspects of the development of a unified state before which all 
individuals stood equal, irrespective of where they came from. 

In concluding his enthusiastic endorsement of the proposed passport 
law, Le Coz wondered aloud: "Had passports been required all along, how 
much less would we now have to bemoan the maneuvers of the aristocracy, 
the poisons of fanaticism, the crimes of the counter-revolutionaries?" 



Even allowing for the much-inflated rhetoric routinely adopted by the 
revolutionaries in the parliamentary discussions, the adversaries in the 
debate over passport controls spoke as if the very fate of the revolution 
hung on the outcome of the passport question. 

Once Le Coz had finished his remarks, the Assembly moved to an 
article-by-article consideration of the Bill submitted by the Committee 
on Legislation. Girardin, the implacable critic of passport restrictions, 
immediately went on the attack. He recognized that the horse was 
already out of the barn, and that the best he could do at this point was to 
seek to control the damage he believed the law would cause. In particu- 
lar, Girardin worried that "inquisitorial laws are always advantageous to 
the executive power." He therefore proposed an amendment to the first 
article, which enunciated the basic requirement that travelers be in 
possession of a passport, that would limit the validity of the law to one 
year. If the law were not explicidy limited in time, he feared, "you run 
the risk of not being able to revoke it." His pleas fell on deaf ears, 
however; Girardin's amendment was rejected, and the Assembly moved 
on to deliberate on article 2. 

The proposed article 2 would have required all passports to include 
the name, age, profession, description, domicile, and nationality of the 
bearer. The issue of the bearer's description provoked opposition to this 
part of the law. We have seen that the passport restrictions adopted in 
mid-1791 in response to Louis XVTs flight to Varennes had included a 
description of those traveling on the document's authority in order to 
forestall any disguised departures such as that of the King. Until that 
time, it had been thought adequate to identify people mainly in terms of 
their social station, geographic origins, and the like. Yet now the objec- 
tion was raised that requiring descriptions in a passport would result in 
the arbitrary infringement of travelers' freedom because the various 
agents of the state involved in enforcing these controls were "inade- 
quately informed" and might "not be able to distinguish exactly among 
descriptions." Half a century later, photographs would come into use in 
passport documents precisely in order to overcome this sort of objection 
- although photographs themselves would at first encounter the same 
objection from police officials who doubted their reliability. 62 

The doctor, naturalist, and Girondin sympathizer Broussonet coun- 
tered with the proposal that the standard passport format be attached to 
the law as adopted, thereby leaving no ambiguity about the information 
each passport was to contain. "There isn't a municipal administration in 
the Kingdom," he insisted, "that is not in a position to distinguish 
between color of hair, of eyes . . ." Broussonet went on to make a crucial 
addition to the criteria for granting passports: henceforth, they should 
all be issued to individuals. Part of the reason the King had been able to 



get as far as Varennes, of course, was that he was traveling - undescribed 
- as a servant in a passport issued to someone else (the Baroness de 
Korff). The practice of issuing passports for groups of persons had, 
according to Broussonet, "given complete liberty to bad subjects." The 
Legislative Assembly found his arguments persuasive and adopted the 
version of the amendment that he had proposed, with the sole revision 
that passports were to be handed out exclusively by the municipal 
authorities. This change had been urged by Delacroix, who insisted that 
this power be removed from the hands of the ministers who, in his view, 
were issuing the passports with which the emigres were slipping off to 
Coblenz to join the enemies of the revolution. 

The law's article 3 proposed that, in addition to the information 
required by article 2, each passport was to include a copy (extrait) of the 
declaration made before the municipal authorities in accordance with 
the aforementioned law on municipal police of 19 July 1791. 63 To this 
clause the objection was raised that the whole business would be super- 
fluous and circular; "if a citizen is the bearer of a certificate that contains 
his age, his position (qualite), etc., it is perfectly useless for him to pre- 
sent a copy of the municipal declaration, for it is only on the basis of a 
copy of that declaration that the municipal authorities would give him a 
passport in the first place. This would unnecessarily burden the munici- 
pal officials." The Jacobin Jacques Alexis Thuriot, a member of the party 
that had stormed the Bastille in 1789 who became distinguished for his 
efforts to stymie the counterrevolution, 64 grasped the essential point - 
which was precisely the circular integration of these documents, their 
correspondence as state-sponsored verifications of identity - and 
demanded that the requirement be included in the final version of the 
law. Yet objections concerning the feasibility of implementing this provi- 
sion led the Assembly to drop it. 

Article 4 would have forbidden the municipal authorities to issue 
passports to those registered by their respective municipalities as gens 
sans aveu, gens suspects, or gens malintentionees without express mention of 
these designations in the passport. This proviso was clearly outrageous, 
and inevitably calls to mind Peuchet's insistence that the burden of the 
passport requirements fell most heavily on the "poor and obscure" ele- 
ments of the population. The proposed amendment provoked 
immediate and indignant objections from several members including 
Vergniaud, the Girondins' "best orator", 65 who regarded it as "infinitely 
immoral and unworthy of the Assembly to allow the municipal authori- 
ties to inscribe defamatory remarks in the passports." Vergniaud went on 
to observe that this sort of defamation, often rooted in a malevolence 
and a desire to slander rather than in any legitimate motive, would have 
"a legal character, because it is certified by the municipal authorities." 



Whereas the requirement that persons state their profession in passports 
was, as Paul Fussell has written in another context, an "open invitation to 
self-casting and social promotion, not to mention outright fraud," 66 the 
bureaucratic codification of social marginality held grave dangers for 
those subjected to it. The Legislative Assembly recognized this proposal 
as the arbitrary constraint on the liberty of the poor that it was, and 
eliminated it from the law. 

The proposed Article 6 would have allowed all French passport bear- 
ers to move about unhindered only within the district in which they 
resided. Yet upon departure from the district they would have been 
required to have their passports visaed by the directory of the district or 
departement in which their municipality was situated. To this measure 
Delacroix replied simply that "it would dishonor the Assembly to pro- 
pose such an article for its deliberation," and the matter was disposed of. 
The version of the law that was actually adopted required that those 
departing from the Kingdom- French or foreign - indicate this intention 
to the municipal authorities in their place of residence, and that this act 
be mentioned in their passports. 67 The law thus harmonized with the 
overall trend toward the replacement of local by national boundaries 
and the "nationalization" of French political space. 

Next, the Committee on Legislation proposed to require that all 
foreigners who wished to depart the Kingdom be in possession of a 
passport and, in addition, that it be visaed by the directory of the district 
or frontier departement from which the traveler in question intended to 
leave. Girardin and others objected that such a clause would frequently 
force people already at the border to return to the interior to get the 
necessary visa and would generally cause considerable inconvenience, 
and proposed instead that the visa authority be given to municipal 
authorities. The moderate Louis Becquey suggested that this article 
(and the next) should be rejected because "our intention is to prevent 
internal troubles and to guarantee individual security and general lib- 
erty," not to constrain emigration. Another member observed that 
French travelers in Spain were experiencing difficulties because the 
authorities there were refusing to recognize passports issued by the 
municipalities, and hence insisted that all passports be visaed by higher 
authorities ( les gouverneurs) . 

Thuriot, an outspoken enthusiast of passport controls, argued that 
the Assembly needed to be in a position to know when people had left 
France in order to be able to determine which of them wanted to join up 
with the emigres. In effect, he said, the legislators wanted to have dis- 
tinct passports for the interior and for exit, and thus proposed to 
require those wishing to depart to take a passport in which that aim was 
to be duly indicated. This proposal met with the objection that people 



might decide that it was necessary to leave the country while already 
away from their domicile in France, forcing them to return home before 
departing simply to get proper authorization. Backing Thuriot's pro- 
posal, Vergniaud noted that the essential point was to be able to 
distinguish between those who wanted "to leave the realm" and those 
who wanted "to abandon the patrie" - that is, the purpose of these 
measures was not to restrict emigration, but to be able to make ideolog- 
ical distinctions among those leaving. 

One member, raising the "who will guard the guards" question, said 
he would support Thuriot's proposal only if it also regulated the behav- 
ior of the frontier municipalities charged with checking whether those 
leaving the country were going where they had said they would. 
Otherwise, he insisted, these departees might be on their way to join the 
enemy forces at Coblenz after dissembling about their motives when 
they originally received their passports. A number of legislators shouted 
that such a provision was unacceptable, for, as Becquey put it, "you have 
no right" to determine where people shall go. While it may be difficult 
for states to control movement outside their own borders, this has 
scarcely kept them from trying to implement such controls, and they 
may be able to do so effectively mainly because of their capacity to 
distribute rewards and punishments at home when the traveler returns. 

By now the Assembly was churning with controversy, and a proposal 
to adopt Thuriot's amendment by acclamation drove the house wild. 
Pandemonium had erupted in the chamber in response to his proposal 
to require those wishing to leave the Kingdom to carry a passport in 
which that intention was inscribed. One legislator insisted on a roll-call 
vote, calling the provision "bloodthirsty"; another denounced it as 
"destructive of commerce and industry, and contrary to the interests of 
the people." That steadfast opponent of passport controls, Girardin, 
returned to the attack, demanding that the Assembly "not be permitted 
to destroy commerce and freedom without discussion . . ," 68 

Thuriot declared himself astonished that those who had defended 
the revolution from its very outset could regard as "bloodthirsty" a mea- 
sure intended "to save the public good," but he revised his proposal to 
the effect that passports would be issued by the municipal authorities in 
the recipients' place of residence, and that mention would be made 
therein of their intention to depart. It was this version that was ulti- 
mately adopted as article 5 of the passport law of 1 February - 28 March 
1792. After some further minor sparring about the inconveniences asso- 
ciated with the passport regulations, the Assembly adjourned. A 
tumultuous day's debate over the particulars of the new passport 
controls thus came to an end. Two more similarly rancorous days of 
discussion would follow before the final result was obtained. 



In the end, under the influence of the siege mentality invoked by 
numerous speakers during the debate, the Assembly reversed a decision 
it had excitedly and unhesitatingly taken only a few months before. The 
atmosphere in which the Assembly adopted this course could hardly be 
better indicated than by Thuriot's remarks on 30 January 1792, which 
were met with exuberant applause: "At this moment, we cannot deceive 
ourselves: there are conspiracies of every kind against us, and we cannot 
be too vigilant." The forces favoring the restoration of controls - mostly 
from the revolutionary left - won out, and passport restrictions were 
reintroduced. Declaring that "the health of the Empire requires the 
most active surveillance," the National Assembly mandated that every- 
one - whether French or foreign - traveling within the Kingdom be in 
possession of a passport. Those wishing to leave French territory had to 
have a notation to this effect inserted into their passports by the author- 
ities in their place of residence; those entering the Kingdom, if they did 
not already have one, were to take a passport from the authorities in the 
municipality where they crossed the border. 69 Surveillance had, indeed, 
become the order of the day. 

By the summer, with war against Prussia and Austria heating up and the 
problem of emigration persisting, the Assembly on 28-9 July adopted a 
further "Decree on Passports" entirely suspending the issuance of such 
documents for departure from France, except to certain selected groups 
distinguished mainly by their need to travel abroad for commercial pur- 
poses. 70 Movement within France was once again heavily restricted and 
departure from the country made illegal for almost everyone. 

In adopting these measures, the Assembly had taken a new departure 
as well. By subjecting foreigners as well as French citizens to these pass- 
port requirements, the new restrictions on movement were part of an 
important shift in the legal status of foreigners in European states. Under 
mercantilism, the foreigner, although otherwise treated like the subject 
in legal terms, typically enjoyed greater freedom to emigrate than native- 
born subjects. 71 Now, foreigners were increasingly being exposed to the 
same disabilities as Frenchmen with respect to departure from France. 
Moreover, they tended to be seen as a threat to the patrie, as would grad- 
ually come to be expected in any international conflict. Several 
protagonists in the early 1792 Assembly debate over passport controls 
had insisted that, notwithstanding their birth elsewhere, many foreigners 
were "true friends of liberty" and should therefore not be encumbered 
with extraordinary legal burdens. Their views failed to carry the day. The 
foreigner, increasingly defined exclusively in national rather than local 
terms, was perceived more and more ipso facto as a suspect. 

The passport restrictions on movement voted by the Assembly in 
early 1792 held sway for a number of months as France faced intensified 



hostility from within and without. Toward the end of the year, however, 
the deputies came around to the view that the restrictions on movement 
within France, at least, were proving counterproductive. In response to 
claims that the provisioning of Paris was suffering greatly under the 
restraints on "the circulation of goods and people," the Assembly in 
early September adopted a decree reestablishing "free circulation" and 
abolishing the clauses of the law of 1 February - 28 March 1 792 requir- 
ing a passport, except within ten lieues from the borders or from 
enemy-occupied territory. 72 This was a remarkable turnabout, coming as 
it did only a few days after the fall of Verdun and the declaration draped 
across the facade of the Hotel de Ville in Paris that "the patrie is in 
danger." Yet less than two weeks later, the Assembly bolstered these pro- 
visions by decreeing that those found guilty of hindering the movements 
of persons or goods would themselves be subject to detention for a 
period equivalent to the duration of such hindrance. 73 

The tendency to equate "goods and people" when discussing the 
question of free movement was a striking aspect of the parliament's 
deliberations at this point. The proclivity appears to have been of older 
provenance, 74 deriving perhaps from a time when many of those travel- 
ing the roads of the country were subject to one form or another of 
unfree labor, and thus seen as little more than property capable of mov- 
ing itself. Whatever its origins, the habit of viewing freedom of 
movement as contributing to both liberty and prosperity is a recurrent 
motif in subsequent discussions of passport restrictions, and a figure of 
thought that gathered strength with the rising prospects of economic 
liberalism in nineteenth-century Europe. 

Despite the Assembly's decisive steps to guarantee free circulation when 
it adopted the new constitution in September 1791, those involved in 
constructing the new regime in France recognized that they had to be in a 
position to "embrace" the subjects of the state when the need to do so 
arose. Accordingly, it was necessary for the state to be in control of birth 
registries that until then had been in the hands of the parish priest. 
Because the Catholic Church was principally concerned to tend to its own 
flock, however, the church registers frequently ignored the births of Jews, 
Protestants, and others. This simply would not do for modern states, which 
- unlike the Church - are territorial and membership organizations that 
must thus be able to distinguish between members and non-members, 
those with rights of access to the territory and those lacking them. 

On 20 September 1792, the government therefore decreed the estab- 
lishment of civil status (I'etat civil), a title denoting "standing" within a 
constituted political order. "From that moment on," Gerard Noiriel has 
written, "an individual could only exist as a citizen once his or her iden- 
tity had been registered by the municipal authorities, according to 



regulations that were the same throughout the national territory." 75 In 
doing so, the French state enhanced its capacity to "embrace" its citizens 
and to keep track of them in order to achieve its aims. On the same day, 
ironically, Goethe famously declared that "this date and place mark a 
new epoch in world history" 76 after the bedraggled French "nation in 
arms" defeated vastly better-trained Prussian troops in the battle at 
Valmy. Enthusiasm for the nation and its definition by the state would 
mutually characterize that new epoch of which Goethe spoke. 


The legal fortunes of the freedom of movement and the extent to which 
travelers were encumbered by passport requirements rose and fell in 
response to the decrees of the revolutionary Convention, which looked 
for, and found, enemies everywhere. In late October 1 792, the Conven- 
tion banished the emigres from French territory "in perpetuity" and 
declared the death penalty for those who contravened the law. 77 Shortly 
thereafter, the emigres then on French territory were directed to leave 
the country. 78 The lot of the emigres, irrespective of why they had left 
France, had taken a decided turn for the worse. 

Yet the picture was far from monochromatic. In late November, the 
Convention had suspended the delivery of certificates of residence, only 
to adopt a few days later a decree rescinding this suspension for mer- 
chants and their agents who found it necessary to travel "for their 
commercial affairs," and authorizing the issuance of certificates and 
passports to them. 79 Then, on 7 December 1792, the Conventionnels 
adopted a measure that softened the restrictions of the passport law of 
the previous July by allowing the distribution of passports to those wish- 
ing to leave the Kingdom for "their interests or their affairs." The 
legislation was cautious, however, in requiring would-be travelers to 
obtain a passport from the directory of the departement in which they 
lived; the directory, in turn, was to rely on the judgment of the district 
and municipal authorities in deciding whether the request for a pass- 
port was "legitimate and sufficiendy verified," and to issue the passports 
only under these conditions. 80 

The purpose of these restrictions on access to passports for depar- 
ture, according to the law's proponent, was "to stymie the culpable 
maneuvers of the ill-intentioned, and to keep at their posts those citizens 
who want to permit themselves too easily to leave French territory at a 
time when the patrie may have need of their presence." 81 In short, the 
French state needed to be able to lay hold of miscreants, and to keep 
hold of its potential allies who might be overcome with Wanderlust at a 
time that the state regards as inconvenient. Later emendations of 



passport requirements would frequently recur to this law as the touch- 
stone from which they took their cue. 

Soon, however, this relative laxity would become unacceptable to 
those at the helm of the Convention, who sought to gain firmer control 
of affairs. Their utter seriousness became unmistakably apparent when 
they voted to have the King beheaded in the Place de la Revolution on 
21 January 1793. Shortly thereafter, in its justification of a new, standard 
passport form for seamen, the Convention voiced its distress about the 
administrative chaos it confronted: "It is a matter of the dignity of the 
French Republic to establish a uniform procedure in its government, 
and to abrogate this monstrous melange of disparate forms." 
Henceforth, valid seamen's documents were to be made recognizable by 
bearing the superscription "Liberte, Egalite." 82 

In February, moreover, the pages of Le Moniteur indicate that a specifi- 
cally revolutionary form of documentation, the so-called certificats de 
civisme, had begun to proliferate uncontrollably, and efforts were made to 
stem their availability. First introduced on 1 November 1792, the certificats 
de civisme had been made a requirement for all government functionaries 
with a law of 5 February 1793, and by June they were obligatory for all 
pensionnaires de la Republique. Such certificates could be denied to persons 
revealing a liking for foreigners or foreign customs. As attestations of rev- 
olutionary sentiment with significant advantages to those holding them, 
the distribution of certificates de civisme could be used as a way to terrorize 
those who did not have them. They were thus very valuable documents 
that people were prepared to lie about in order to get. 83 

Against this background, calls for the reinvigoration of passport con- 
trols were once again heard in the Convention. A member from the 
brigand-infested Breton departement of Morbihan complained that the 
patrie was beset by enemies because of the lack of enforcement of the 
passport laws and demanded that they be "severely executed." That reli- 
able supporter of passport restrictions, Thuriot, reminded the assembly 
that the passport law was on the books, but had been neglected during 
the preceding months. "But the only measure," he insisted, "that can 
force the volunteers to remain under the colors, and to prevent the 
actions of the malevolents, trouble-makers, and thieves is to put the law 
back in effect." Thuriot pressed for the renewed implementation of the 
laws of 28 March and 28 July 1 792, to which it was replied that this would 
be acceptable only if the law of 7 December was not "derogated." 84 

Claiming that it was of "the greatest importance" that the "constituted 
authorities" be in a position "to know, to arrest, and to punish the 
malcontents that circulate in different parts of the Republic inciting the 
violation of the laws, and to prevent as much as possible all criminal 
intelligence with the external enemy," the Convention declared on 



26 February 1793 that this trio of laws was to be implemented until 
otherwise ordered. 85 Two days later, the Convention seems to have felt 
that it had not written a sufficiently stringent regulation. As a result, it 
decreed that all French citizens away from their domiciles and not in 
possession of a passport issued more recently than August 1792 were to 
appear before the municipality where they currently resided within 
twenty-four hours after the promulgation of the decree to report "their 
description, and to give their name, age, occupation, and domicile." 86 
This measure was designed to contend with the problem of issuing doc- 
uments to those away from their municipality of domicile, the authority 
empowered by the law of 28 March 1792 to issue passports. 

Six weeks later, in a decree primarily devoted to assuring the repre- 
sentatives of accredited foreign powers that they would be able to gain 
access to passports, the Convention "suppressed the usage of the iaissez 
passer established by the city of Paris for exit from the barricades." 87 
Clearly, in this chaotic period, the central government had no effective 
monopoly on the legitimate authority to control movement. Moreover, 
although the Convention demonstrated a charming faith in the efficacy 
of its pronouncements, it seems improbable that its regulations were 
implemented with any strict uniformity. 

In fact, the Convention was losing its grip on the country, which in 
any case was not especially powerful in the first place. In early March, 
the counterrevolutionaries of the Vendee rose again, this time en masse, 
and lit a torch that ignited other parts of the region. During the ensuing 
weeks, General Dumouriez concluded an armistice with the Austrians 
with the intention of marching on Paris to restore the monarchy and the 
Constitution of 1791; the death penalty was invoked against armed 
rebels, refractory priests, and emigres; and, by the end of the month, the 
latter had died "civil death" and were subject to the physical variety if 
they returned to the country. 88 

During this period, control over administration of the repression 
increasingly slipped from the Convention's grasp. In particular, with the 
creation of the watch committees (comites de surveillance) on 21 March 
regulation of movement and enforcement of passport regulations fell 
more and more into the hands of rogue, sans-culotte elements. 89 Worse 
still, the rebels of the Vendee were issuing their own passports; in June, 
the Convention adopted a decree punishing with ten years' deprivation 
of the rights of citizenship those soldiers who, having been captured by 
the Vendeans, accepted a passport from them in order to return to the 
Republican ranks. 90 On 28 Frimaire Year II (18 December 1793), the 
Convention would nullify all passports issued by the municipalities situ- 
ated in the areas where the "fugitive brigands of the Vendee" circulated 
- presumably because the Vendeans were getting access to legitimate 



passports as a result of the connivance of local officials sympathetic to 
them. 91 The paranoia of the Convention was growing, and would 
continue to do so until it issued in the draconian "Law on Suspects" of 
September 1 793, which made the watch committees "all-powerful" and 
defined as suspects - among many other groups - those who had ever 
been denied a certificat de civisme. 92 In an effort to impose greater order 
on the administration of passport controls, at least, the Conseil general 
endorsed a Parisian measure to bureaucratize the distribution of docu- 
ments, providing that the commissions on passports, certificates of 
residence, and certificats de civisme should consist of four members each 
who should receive an indemnity of 2000 livres for their efforts. 93 

Those from other countries suffered special antipathy during this 
period. On 18 March 1793 Barere, soon to be a member of the Committee 
of Public Safety, instigated a law that "chased" foreigners from the territory 
of the Republic. Exceptions were to be made only if the individual in ques- 
tion had made a declaration to the newly installed twelve-member 
committees instituted in each municipality to hear them. If they passed 
this examination, they were issued residence certificates; otherwise, they 
were to leave the country within twenty-four hours or eight days, depend- 
ing on circumstances. With this law, "all foreigners are henceforth accused 
of being political enemies of the revolution." 94 Because it is impossible to 
identify a foreigner merely by sight, some means must be created to do so; 
it seems that at least some of those who passed the "examen de civisme" 
were required to wear armbands inscribed with the word "hospitality" and 
the name of their country of origin. 95 The watch committees assumed a 
special role in safeguarding France against "strangers," whether internal 
or "foreign" in our contemporary sense. 96 

Yet it should not necessarily be supposed that the regulation of 
"strangers" was the sole or even primary activity of the watch commit- 
tees. Their mandate encompassed a wide array of suspects and their 
authority expanded with the drift toward unconstrained terror. On 24 
February 1 793 the Convention had embarked upon a levy of 300 000 
men to be drawn from among bachelors and widowers between the ages 
of twenty and forty. 97 Enthusiasm for military service remained a spotty 
affair, however, and considerable energy had to be spent in tracking 
down the unwilling. As a result, "much of the time and effort of comites de 
surveillance was taken up in 1793-94 with tracking down deserters to 
their village, forest, or mountain hide-outs . . ." 98 

Recruitment problems multiplied with the Convention's declaration 
of the levee en masse in August 1793; Lefebvre concludes that, of those 
newly liable for service who absconded, "most of them certainly 
escaped." 99 Some of them may have been using public and postal vehi- 
cles to do so, for the Conseil general issued an order in early 1794 



prohibiting such conveyances from taking on anyone not in possession 
of a passport visaed by the municipality and the revolutionary commit- 
tees. 100 By early June 1794, the Great Terror of the Year II was in full 
swing, and with it the grim work of the guillotines. 

With the fall of Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety after 
the Thermidorian reaction (28 July 1794), a sense of relief was palpable 
in France. This mood extended to passport matters as well. At the same 
time that the watch committees were eviscerated, the Convention moved 
to liberalize documentary restrictions on travel. On 6 Fructidor Year II 
(23 August 1794), the Convention decreed that passports in the depart- 
ment of Paris would be issued by the comite civil without any longer 
having to be referred to the general assembly of the section, and would 
be visaed by the revolutionary committee of the arrondissement. The 
requirement that passports be visaed by the departement was abolished as 
well. In addition, the passports of French travelers arriving in Paris were 
to be visaed exclusively by the comite civiL m By failing to specify whether 
this decree concerned both internal passports and passports for m"<from 
the country, however, the measure aroused considerable confusion in 
the ranks of those responsible for administering these laws. This ambi- 
guity was exacerbated by the fact that the Thermidorians held the 
municipality of Paris to have been engaged in a conspiratorial undertak- 
ing during the Terror, and would soon move to suppress that body. 102 

In late September 1794, the Convention's Committee on Legislation 
proposed a clarification of the terms of the 23 August decree. The com- 
mittee's spokesman began by noting that the law of 7 December 1792 
had not yet been abrogated; that law, it will be recalled, required that the 
departements were to issue passports for departure, after hearing the 
advice of the district and municipal directories concerning the legiti- 
macy of the request. While this procedure had (supposedly) been 
followed in every other departement in the Republic, "it is clear that the 
law cannot have applied in Paris, where a conspiratorial municipality has 
been justly struck down by the national sovereignty that it sought to 
usurp." 103 Once again, the central state found it necessary to assert its 
supremacy in the matter of authorizing legitimate movement against 
elements seeking to claim this authority for themselves. 

The spokesman then announced that the legislative committee's 
reading of the law of 6 Fructidor Year II led it to conclude that the 
Convention had not, in fact, wished to change the requirements for exter- 
nal passports that had been dictated by the law of 7 December 1792. 
Thereupon the Convention adopted a decree affirming this interpreta- 
tion, and reiterated the responsibility of the departement of Paris for issuing 
passports - with the emendation that they should rely on the advice of the 
civil and revolutionary committees rather than on that of the municipality 



in determining the acceptability of a passport request. 104 In the process, 
and quite coincidentally, the revolutionary Convention took an important 
step toward distinguishing bureaucratically between internal and external 
passports: the one to be issued by local authorities, the other by higher- 
level - though not yet "national" - authorities. 

The niceties of bureaucratic rationalization aside, however, much of 
this preoccupation with the details of passport procedure was, as a prac- 
tical matter, little more than eyewash. For the central government in 
Paris was a paper tiger with scarcely any effective control in the country- 
side, over which were scattered all manner of brigands, dismissed 
officials, 106 deserting soldiers, and returning emigres, significant seg- 
ments of whom were in rebellion. The steady stream of decrees and the 
frequency with which passport matters appear on the agenda of the 
Convention themselves point to this conclusion. 

In fact, the passport laws were openly flouted and indeed mocked, as 
can be seen in the case of the emigres, who began a major reflux after 
Thermidor despite the persistence of penal legislation against them. 
Some had availed themselves of forged papers to facilitate their return, 
and saw easily enough the usefulness of such documents for their 
confreres (and perhaps a much-needed source of income for them- 
selves). As the numbers of former emigres in France swelled, they 
established agencies in various cities dedicated to producing evidence of 
non-emigration, which was essential for their ability to evade hostile 
authorities. These counterfeits included hospital receipts, certificates of 
residence, and passports; quantity production of the latter "soon 
brought the price down to ten francs each and made them available to 
almost anyone." 106 It is axiomatic that fraud and forgery are more or less 
automatic responses to the imposition by states of documentary require- 
ments of this kind. 

Against this backdrop, it could hardly be surprising that one of the 
deputies harangued the Convention on 1 May 1795, with the charge that 
"the law on passports has not been implemented," as a result of which "the 
scum of the Republic seeks refuge here [in Paris] , and we are surrounded 
by assassins." 107 By the end of the same month, and for the first time since 
1789, troops would enter Paris to fight the rebellious citizenry of the city. 
When the Faubourg-St. Antoine surrendered without a struggle, the 
revolution - at least by Georges Lefebvre's reckoning - was over. 108 

A brief relaxation of documentary controls followed. First, the 
Committee of General Security endorsed the Parisian authorities' 
issuance of passports to disarmed citizens (citoyens desarmes) in order to 
facilitate "commerce" and "communication." 109 A month later, the gov- 
ernment abolished the certificats de civisme, a measure heartily applauded 
as a contribution to the restoration of freedom. 110 The French would no 



longer require this documentary attestation of their adherence to the rev- 
olutionary cause, and even those who had taken up arms against the 
revolution would once again be free to move about to tend to their affairs. 

The foreign-born did not get off so easily, however. In between these 
two measures, the Convention - at the advice of the Committees of 
Public Safety and General Security - banished from France all foreigners 
who had entered the country after 1 January 1792. The route which 
they intended to take on their departure from the country was to 
be recorded in the passports they would require to leave France. 
Conversely, upon arrival at the French border, foreigners were to 
deposit their passports with the municipal authorities, who were to send 
them on to the Committee of General Security to be visaed. In place of 
their passports, the municipal authorities were to give these individuals a 
provisional carte de surete indicating that they were to remain under 
surveillance while the passport was being checked out. Meanwhile, 
those foreigners who were permitted to remain - chiefly those from 
friendly or allied countries, those who had entered France prior to 1792, 
and those recognized for "their patriotism and their probity" - were to 
receive an identity card bearing their description. At the top of the cards 
were to appear the words hospitalite et surete and, if the person were from 
a country with which France was at peace, the word "fraternite . . ." m 

While clearly analogous to the previously discussed practice of requir- 
ing foreigners to wear armbands, this may have been the first time that 
foreigners in France were to be compelled to carry a document attesting 
their foreignness but unrelated to movement control (i.e., an "identity 
card" rather than a passport). Only those from countries with which 
France was not at war received the inscription "fraternite" on their cards, 
suggesting the authorities' merely provisional attitude toward the 
"surete" of those originally from other countries. The regulation in any 
case bore witness to the undeniable fact that there is no way to identify a 
foreigner without some form of marking such as these cards. France had 
begun to take the necessary steps to distinguish clearly and effectively 
between natives and foreigners within its borders. 

Shortly after the adoption of the Constitution of the Year HI on 1 
Vendemiaire Year IV (23 September 1795), the Convention once again 
tightened the screws on the movements of the French citizenry. In its 
"Decree on the Internal Communal Police," the government ordered that 
henceforth persons would be not permitted to leave the area of their can- 
ton without a passport signed by the administration of the municipality or 
of the canton itself. In the interest of bureaucratic consistency, each 
department was to supply the lower authorities with a model of the pass- 
port to be used. Those found outside their cantons without the required 
document and unable to establish satisfactorily the location of their 



domicile were to be treated as vagabonds, who might receive fairly harsh 
punishments including up to a year of detention - followed, in extreme 
cases, by "transportation," presumably to a French penal colony. 112 

If the government had had the teeth to make this measure bite, it 
would have turned France into a gigantic prison in which the cantons 
constituted the individual cells. As we have seen, however, the likelihood 
is that it would have been relatively easy to circumvent these require- 
ments. Still, the decree bespoke a vindictive mood, especially against 
the poor. Indeed, these regulations reinvigorated a law from two years 
earlier that had been specifically directed toward the control of 
mendicity. 113 Having moved decisively to sharpen documentary restric- 
tions on potential enemy foreigners, the Thermidorian Convention 
rejuvenated strictures against the lower orders that strongly resembled 
those of the ancien regime, and that the Constituent Assembly had 
proudly eliminated less than four years earlier. The revolution thus with- 
drew firmly from the prospect of untrammeled freedom of movement 
that had been heralded in the work of the Constituent Assembly. 


Just as the Convention was adopting this most recent restrictive legisla- 
tion, Napoleon was crushing the Parisian revolt of Vendemiaire Year IV. 
The Directory followed immediately on his heels. Despite the fact that it 
took a harder line against footloose elements, it, too, was unable to gain 
mastery over the country. The fact that the Directory felt it necessary to 
reiterate in late March 1796 the prohibition on passport-less departures 
from a canton enunciated the previous October suggests that the actual 
implementation of those restrictions left much to be desired. 114 

During this period, desertion from the army remained a major prob- 
lem, and one that the government seems to have been largely helpless to 
curtail. Richard Cobb has offered a pungent description of the situation 
facing the government: 

[In the Year IV] we hear of a whole company of soldiers, in uniform, with 
their regimental numbers on their collars, walking from Sarrelouis [in 
Alsace], the length of a half-dozen Departments . . . without at any stage 
being challenged . . . The enormous extension of desertion in the year IV 
and the year V - probably the peak - is the most striking testimony to the 
powerlessness of the Directory almost anywhere outside Paris . . . There is 
something splendid about defiance of government on such an impudent 
scale . . . 115 

This impudence may have seemed splendid to one of its most brilliant 
historians, but it most assuredly did not warm the hearts of those run- 
ning the Directory. 



Perhaps as a result of its ineffectuality in governing movement within 
France, the drift of legislation under the First Directory was toward a 
more exclusive preoccupation with passport controls on those leaving 
and entering France. At least at first, the Directory held to the 7 
December 1792 law concerning passports for departure from the coun- 
try. In March 1 796, however, the Directory took up a proposal to change 
that law to make it conform to the fact that the district directories - 
formerly responsible, along with the municipalities, for giving their 
recommendation to the departements with respect to the legitimacy of 
requests for passports for departure from France - had since been sup- 
pressed. According to the bill's preamble, it was also designed to 
"extend and activate the surveillance of the government over the acqui- 
sition of passports" for departure. It was to achieve the latter objective by 
requiring that the departmental administrations submit every ten days 
(the decade of the new revolutionary calendar) a list of the passports they 
had issued during the interim. 116 

Rising to defend the bill against critics who found it too lax, a speaker 
known as a vigorous devotee of the Constitution of 1791 117 waxed elo- 
quent about the rights of a people that had lived "for fourteen centuries 
under the arbitrary power of kings and their ministers and that is sur- 
rounded by nations subject to a power of the same type," about absolute 
and relative freedom, and about natural rights and the rights of man 
and citizen - especially the right to move about and to leave that was 
guaranteed in the constitution. The speaker agreed that the times 
demanded sharper surveillance by the government and thus that it was 
admissible to require that those wishing to leave first obtain the state's 
permission to do so. Yetjust as one inculcates timidity in a child too long 
kept in the crib, he insisted, "one robs the French people of a part of its 
energy" if one weighs it down too long with unnecessary restrictions. 
Ultimately, these views prevailed, and the Council of Ancients - the body 
now ruling France - adopted the bill. In view of the fact that both sup- 
porters and opponents agreed that this measure would lighten the 
burden of documentary requirements on those wishing to leave France, 
we may conclude that this outcome was not unwelcome to the leaders of 
the Directory. 118 

Whereas the government relaxed passport strictures with respect to 
French citizens, this period saw a harsh turn against foreigners, who 
were increasingly seen by the top officialdom as criminals. The pages of 
Le Moniteur from this period record an extraordinary diatribe by the 
Montagnard Julien Souhait regarding the need to impose a more severe 
passport regime on foreigners. Souhait began his remarks by noting that 
the government had required passports for all those leaving their domi- 
cile, "as proof of their good conduct and their respect for liberty and 



public tranquility." But if this were reasonable enough for French per- 
sons, he continued, there was all the more reason to require passports of 
foreigners, "men who cannot offer, like the French, the natural guaran- 
tee of their attachment to the patrie, nor the same means to repair the 
damage they might do through corruption or immorality." Souhait went 
on to decry the favoritism toward potentially dangerous co-nationals dis- 
played by foreign ambassadors in the issuance of passports, and insisted 
that these foreign emissaries could not be trusted to take French security 
concerns into account in their passport practices. 

Souhait then delivered himself of a statement that articulated directly 
the notion of the state's monopolization of the legitimate means of 
movement, as well as the shift toward making French political space a 
place "of and for the French": 

Passports are a police measure of the government on whose territory 
travelers circulate. None other than that government, or its agents, has 
the right to bestow them, for none other has the interest and none other 
has the right and obligation to watch over good order, liberty, and the 
public security. The agent of a foreign power cannot be your agent, even 
in his own interest; you cannot give him any authority, even less one that 
the constitution expressly delegates exclusively to the French and to the 
magistrates of the people. The foreigner, like every resident, is subject to 
the laws of the country in which he travels. This subjection is the price of 
the protection that he receives; it is the prerogative and the right of the 
public authority. A natural-born Frenchman (un naturel) may not travel in 
France without the permission of the government or the magistrates of 
the people; the foreigner must therefore [also] obtain permission. 

One way to get around the problem of foreign undesirables entering the 
country with documents issued by foreign rather than French authori- 
ties, he suggested, would be to establish a system whereby French 
authorities in the traveler's country of origin would issue passports to those 
wishing to come to France. Unlike foreigners, French officials could be 
relied upon not to distribute passports to those who might be expected 
to undermine public order in France. Souhait envisioned, in effect, the 
international visa system that would gradually develop over the next cen- 
tury and a quarter. His main legislative point was to complain of the 
inadequacies of the law of 23 Messidor Year III (11 July 1795) that had 
banished from France all but the "patriotic" foreign-born, and to insist 
that foreigners circulating in France - whom he accused of instigating 
"tumultuous assemblies" and "provoking anarchy and demagogic furor" 
in the foregoing weeks - have their passports visaed by French authori- 
ties. 119 In all events, one senses in Souhait's remarks a decisive adieu to 
the revolutionary cosmopolitanism expressed by Condorcet and others 
in the early days of the revolution. 



The xenophobic mood articulated by Souhait was not without issue. 
First, just before Christmas 1 796, the Directory stiffened the provisions 
of the hostile law of 23 Messidor Year III (11 July 1795), requiring that 
the passports of foreigners arriving in France be deposited with frontier 
officials and sent on to the Ministry of General Police to be visaed. Now, 
in addition, duly certified copies of such passports were to be forwarded 
to both the public prosecutor and the Directory's commissioner at 
the departmental criminal tribunal. 120 Then, in April, the Directory 
declared null and void all passports issued or visaed by diplomatic emis- 
saries of the United States. 121 This measure was taken in the atmosphere 
that produced the Alien and Sedition Acts, the first law empowering the 
American government to deport undesirable foreigners, and suggested 
the extraordinary discomfiture with which developments in France were 
being regarded abroad, even outside the Continent. 122 The earlier aim 
of exporting the revolution to other countries suffering under arbitrary 
rule had been transmuted into wars of conquest, and France had 
learned enmity of foreigners as it earned enmity from their respective 

But the culmination of these trends was yet to come. With the coup 
d'etat of 18 Fructidor Year V (4 September 1797), anti-foreign and revo- 
lutionary sentiments welled up afresh as the dictatorship attempted to 
clean house of its opponents and enemies. For the French, this meant a 
wave of terror - "a reversion to the spirit of '93," Greer called it - against 
refractory clergy, emigres, and many who were confused with them in 
the ensuing fracas. The "Fructidorian Terror" thus spurred a new stream 
of emigration, not least of those members of the Council of 500 purged 
and condemned to deportation by the law of 19 Fructidor with which 
those who carried out the coup asserted their predominance.' 23 By the 
end of September, the Directory moved to consideration of a new pass- 
port law intended to give them the upper hand in the midst of all the 
confusion. It soon adopted a statute that has been described as "the 
starting-point for modern aliens legislation." 124 

In fact, the law tightened passport requirements for both French citi- 
zens and foreigners. For the former, passports henceforth were to 
include mention of the bearer's destination. Within ten days after the 
promulgation of the statute, all passports issued prior to the date of pro- 
mulgation were declared null and void. Those away from their place of 
domicile during that time were to obtain new papers from the adminis- 
tration in the canton in which they found themselves; the passports were 
to be issued, however, only on the basis of a declaration by two residents 
of the relevant canton who were familiar with the applicant. A copy of 
such passports was to be sent to the cantonal administration where 
the person had his or her domicile. In addition, article 6 pronounced 



penalties of one to two years in prison against those officials complicit in 
issuing passports for travel within France to those who had been ordered 
expelled from France pursuant to the law of 19 Fructidor. 

Yet the regulations were even more stringent for those from other 
countries. Nonresident foreigners then in France were obliged to pre- 
sent their passports to the administration of the departement - a 
higher-level authority - in which they happened to be, and the destina- 
tion of their travels and their current residence was to be inscribed as for 
French citizens. Copies of these passports, however, were to be sent to 
the Ministry of Foreign Relations as well as that of the General Police. In 
a move presumably directed especially at the English, the surveillance 
measures already enjoined in law against those arriving in French ports 
were reaffirmed. Finally, article 7 brought the coup de grace: all foreigners 
traveling within France, or resident there in any capacity other than that 
of an accredited official mission on behalf of a neutral or friendly power, 
and who had not acquired French citizenship, were "placed under the 
special surveillance of the executive Directory, which may withdraw 
their passports and compel their departure from French territory if it 
judges their presence susceptible to disturb the public order and 
peace." 125 The words of Julien Souhait had become deeds; the optimistic 
cosmopolitanism of the early days of the revolution had been obliter- 
ated; and the high-flown ambiguities of the Declaration of the Rights of 
Man and Citizen had been resolved in favor of the nation-state. 
Foreigners - made known by the papers they carried - were declared 
suspects as a matter of routine. 

The reinstitution and strengthening of passport controls in revolutionary 
France - a process more or less unbroken after early 1792, punctuated by 
occasional attempts at liberalization - confirms Tocqueville's conclusion 
that the French Revolution went through "two distinct phases: one in 
which the sole aim of the French nation seemed to be to make a clean 
sweep of the past; and a second, in which attempts were made to salvage 
fragments from the wreckage of the old order." 126 Although much work 
remained to be done before the state could effectively assert its monopoly 
on the legitimate means of movement within France and across its bound- 
aries, the "new regime" had made clear that it had no intention of 
adopting the attitude of the Constituent Assembly that passports should 
be abolished and freedom of movement should carry the day. 

As we have seen, the revolutionary governments, beset by enemies 
domestic and foreign, real and imagined, sought to use passport con- 
trols and other documentary means - "fragments from the wreckage of 
the old order" - to regulate the movements of emigres, counterrevolu- 
tionary brigands, refractory priests, itinerant mendicants, conscripted 



soldiers, and the foreign-born, among others. While these devices 
may have been effective in many instances, the chaos and disorder 
ravaging the country, the efforts of dissident groups, and the lack of a 
well-articulated bureaucratic apparatus simply overwhelmed the govern- 
ment's capacity to assert a successful monopoly on the legitimate means 
of movement at this time. 

Yet steps had been taken in this direction, as well as toward the imple- 
mentation of effective distinctions between native and foreigner 
founded on documents. In part, of course, such efforts foundered on 
the incoherence of the international state system, especially during the 
various wars that plagued Europe until the end of the Napoleonic era. In 
the absence of an organized passport system, countries such as France 
that required passports to legitimate movement were forced simply to 
issue these to foreigners themselves, rather than being able to expect 
them to arrive with the required document, as we now take for granted 
must be the case. Still, by instituting civil status (Vetat civil), the secular 
registration of each new addition to the French populace, the new 
regime in France had made a major advance toward enabling it to 
embrace its citizens and make them available for its own purposes. 

Let us now turn to a consideration of the situation in nineteenth- 
century Europe, as the burgeoning fortunes of economic liberalism 
made free circulation appear an unavoidable necessity for industrial 
development, and the falling away of older documentary controls 
culminated in a period of extraordinary freedom of movement. 




The defeat of Napoleonic adventurism and the stabilization of European 
interstate relations following the Congress of Vienna (1815) soon led to a 
relaxation of the controls on movement that had gone into effect during 
the revolutionary conflagrations, or that had existed since long before 
they began. The century-long period of relative peace that followed con- 
stituted the framework for the dissolution of feudal ties where they still 
held sway, a process that in Prussia began during the Napoleonic wars and 
was in part a form of compensation to those elements of the male popula- 
tion drafted into military service during those conflicts. Clausewitz and 
other reformers realized that German society would have to be trans- 
formed in a more liberal and egalitarian direction if it were to be in a 
position to match the fighting ability that had been newly demonstrated 
by the French "nation in arms." 1 Liberation from traditional dues and 
obligations also gained impetus, of course, from the example set by the 
abolition of feudalism in France in August 1789. In short, keeping the 
peasants bound to the land as they had been since the so-called "manorial 
reaction" of the sixteenth century grew increasingly untenable in western 
Europe, though the East remained as yet little affected by this trend. 

This newly won freedom was deeply troubling to the guardians of social 
order. In the early nineteenth century (at least in Germany, but surely not 
only there) , the nervous view was widespread among them that "nothing 
has appeared ... to replace the previous patronage [of the lord] over the 
peasant."' 2 Those responsible for superintending the "dangerous classes" 
were frequently rendered apoplectic at the heightened possibility that 
large numbers of "masterless men" might be found traveling the country's 
roads unhindered. The labor needs of an industrial capitalist economy in 
statu nascendi combined with the decline of serfdom, however, to promote 



a dramatic slackening of restrictions on movement in the course of the 
nineteenth century. Despite much hand-wringing on the part of the 
"better element," this trend culminated in 1867 with the Prussian-led 
North German Confederation's explicit abolition of all documentary 
requirements authorizing travel, whether these concerned citizens of 
the Confederation's member states or foreigners. At the same time that 
movement was liberalized, however, the Confederation reasserted its 
right to demand that persons "legitimate" themselves; the loosening of 
restrictions on travel could not be allowed, the state's guardians insisted, 
to diminish its capacity to "embrace" the population for policing and 
other purposes. 

In this chapter, I concentrate primarily on the vicissitudes of documen- 
tary controls on movement in the German lands. The focus is on 
reconstructing the processes whereby this period gave rise to considerably 
greater legal freedom of movement, often irrespective of a person's 
nationality, than had been known in Europe since before the rise of 
modern states aiming to monopolize the legitimate means of movement. 


From at least 1548, the German lands had known documentary restric- 
tions on the movements of the lower orders. At Augsburg in that year, 
the Imperial Diet had mandated that the "masterless rabble" (herrenloses 
Gesinde) - those with "no master or spokesperson (Vorsprecher)" - be in 
possession of imperial travel documents in order to pass through those 
lands without hindrance, or otherwise risk expulsion. The language 
suggests the extent to which the state was acting in place of the feudal 
lord who would normally be expected to regulate the movements of 
the person (s) in question. Shortly thereafter, at least according to one 
mid-nineteenth-century observer, "passports" make their first entry into 
the language of the law. 3 

Early in the reign of Frederick William I of Prussia (1713-40), the 
so-called "Soldier King," a law intended to sharpen controls on beggars, 
vagabonds, and "other evil rabble" for the first time required foreigners 
(Ausldndische) to have in their possession a passport, which was to be 
visaed nightly at the waystations along their route. Natives were to equip 
themselves with the "usual" passes. 4 During the course of his reign, the 
Soldier King would eventually prohibit all emigration by peasants, an 
order for the infraction of which the punishment was death. 5 Then, in 
1753, a police measure mandated that "all traveling pedestrians and per- 
sons riding [horses] individually, insofar as they are not [army] officers 
or other distinguished persons, must be in possession of passports." 



Innkeepers were to assist the authorities in enforcing these laws by report- 
ing each night on the presence of strangers in their accommodations. 6 

We should be careful not to take these draconian pronouncements 
too seriously, however. "The prohibitions on emigration," an Italian 
analyst of migration has noted, "could not stop a movement that had 
struck such deep roots in the country, and which political oppression, 
often accompanied by economic distress, rendered necessary as a 
release (liberazione) ." 7 This was, after all, a period of substantial German 
emigration to North America, a flow engendered in part by the authori- 
ties' relaxation of emigration restrictions with the aim of ridding the 
country of religious squabbles. 8 But the major influx of Germans was 
still to come, and would have to await the emancipation of the peasantry 
and the decline of mercantilist attitudes toward population-as-wealth. 

The liberation of the peasants in early nineteenth-century Germany 
would bring decisive steps to loosen restrictions on movement for the 
lower strata. With Napoleon's defeat of Prussia at Jena in 1806, the Holy 
Roman Empire of the German Nation had met its final demise. Given 
that a re-match with France was sooner or later inevitable, the Prussian 
King, Frederick William III, responded with measures designed to bring 
into existence a coherent body of subjects "with a sufficient stake in their 
nation so that they would be willing to fight and die for it." The so-called 
October Edict of 1807 freed the Prussian peasantry from hereditary 
servitude, traditional labor obligations and dues, and seigneurial 
restraints on their ownership of land. Many occupations were opened to 
all comers, stripping the guilds of their power to regulate access to 
employment. These measures were nothing less than the first strides 
down the road to a free market in labor. At the urging of the reformers 
arrayed around Karl Freiherr vom Stein, halting steps were also taken in 
the direction of popular participation in government. 9 

Despite some significant successes in a difficult period, however, the 
Prussian reforms could go only so far in a situation of (partial) military 
occupation and the imminent resumption of war. Following Napoleon's 
disastrous winter campaign in Russia, Czar Alexander undertook in late 
February 1813 an alliance with Prussia to save European Christianity 
from the godless French despot. 10 As the confrontation with France 
loomed, controls on movement were tightened anew. On 20 March 1813, 
a week before the official declaration of war against France, Frederick 
William III announced that it was necessary, "for the survival of the inde- 
pendence of our crown and our people," to promulgate a new passport 
law. 11 The punctiliousness of the regulations - their specificity regarding 
those affected, the precision concerning how border-crossings were to 
take place, the firmness with which the statute defined the relevant offi- 
cialdom - makes the measures we have examined in revolutionary 



France seem haphazard and ramshackle by comparison. Unlike the 
French revolutionaries, of course, the Prussian King had no interest in 
debating fine philosophical points about the freedom of movement, at 
least not for publication. He had a realm to save. 

As one observer has noted, the 1813 law was mainly designed to keep 
out the spies that "inundated" the country during wartime. 12 This inter- 
pretation is indeed suggested by the new documentary requirements. 
Upon entering Prussian territory, travelers from abroad were constrained 
to take possession of a Prussian passport issued not by local authorities 
(apparently the usual or at least an accepted practice), but by higher-level 
officials ranging from the Royal Chancellor down to the central govern- 
ment's police representative at the provincial level. The persistence of the 
practice whereby incoming travelers were furnished with a passport by the 
receiving state, rather than by the state of the traveler's origin, is notable 
here. Those who failed to have their passports visaed nightly in the town 
where they stayed, or who left the route inscribed in their passports, were 
subject to arrest and expulsion. Particular mention was made of the law's 
application to artisans and craftsmen, "irrespective of whether they have a 
journeyman's book [Wanderbuch- a document attesting to the craftsman's 
passage through the elaborate German apprenticeship system] or only a 
foreign passport." Russian and other allied troops and commanders were 
exempted from these requirements, as were certain groups of people 
traveling for business purposes, and diplomats. 

At the same time, those subject to the restrictions on entry were 
forbidden to leave Prussia without a passport issued by authorities above 
the local level and duly visaed at the border. The foreigners and 
unknown persons circulating in the country were to be subjected to 
heightened scrutiny by the Prussian security forces, though not only 
by them: the law requested the assistance of landowners, innkeepers, 
cart-drivers, and others in its implementation. In addition, the statute 
forbade artisans to employ foreign or returning native apprentices, or 
to release them for work abroad. The serious penalties invoked for 
violation of this provision suggest that one may regard this aspect of the 
law as a forerunner of the "employer sanctions" associated with the 
immigration policies of our own time. 

Despite the intensified surveillance to be exercised over those groups 
deemed to be potential spies, however, the law adopted an indulgent 
attitude toward Prussian subjects. The new passport formalities were not 
incumbent upon Prussian subjects returning from abroad, as long as 
they satisfactorily identified themselves (sick legitimiren) in some other 
way. Nor was there, in Frederick William's benign view, any need to 
restrict the movements of Prussian subjects in the country's interior. 
This lax posture was due, he said, to "our subjects' laudable devotion 



{riihmliche Anhanglichkeit) to the state." This may well have been a self- 
serving claim, but Frederick William's judgment of the popular mood 
reflected both rising anti-French sentiment among the Prussian popu- 
lace and the King's conversion to the notion that a war for national 
liberation should be combined with a war for domestic freedoms. 13 

The new passport regulations were thus principally preoccupied with 
the movements of potential foreign enemies and spies, but they were 
remarkably lenient toward Prussian subjects themselves. 14 This relaxed 
attitude toward freedom of movement was sensible for a ruler eager to 
sustain the enthusiasm of those soon to be recruited into the army in 
order to restore Prussian sovereignty and regain Prussian lands lost to 
Napoleon. The spring offensive began in April, and a new conscription 
law followed within a few months. By August of 1813, "the decisive strug- 
gle for Europe's future" was underway. 15 

It was a battle that Napoleon would ultimately lose. In September, the 
rulers of Austria, Prussia, and Russia signed a series of treaties at Teplitz 
that committed them to fight together until Napoleon's ultimate defeat 
and to restore Austria and Prussia to their shape in 1805. The "battle of 
nations" ( Volkerschlacht) that ensued at Leipzig in October 1813 signaled 
the end of the French Emperor's hegemony in Europe. Even if Waterloo 
(June 1815) was still nearly two years away, Prussia and its allies had crip- 
pled the power of the French war machine, and Napoleon would soon 
be packed off to exile on the island of Elba. 

Against this background - "because the political conditions that 
required considerations of public circulation to be firmly subordinated 
to those of general security" in the previous year's passport law had 
changed so much for the better - Frederick William HI in late February 
1814 issued an edict to liberalize the regulations concerning the move- 
ments of lorry drivers, livestock dealers, and artisans, though the greatest 
attention was paid to the latter group. With the state of military emer- 
gency past, artisans entering from "friendly" states could now gain access 
to Prussian territory on the authority of a passport issued by municipal 
authorities in their country of origin, and no longer had to submit to 
annoying delays while awaiting a Prussian passport at the border, as had 
been the case since the promulgation of the March 1813 law. Upon due 
inspection by border guards of the passports they carried, however, they 
were to receive an unstamped "interim passport" that would authorize 
travel to the provincial or other appropriate office empowered by the 
1813 law to issue the entry passport. The new regulation thus allowed the 
affected persons into Prussia without a time-consuming application for 
documents for which they had to wait at the border, instead allowing 
them to acquire the documents in their own time in a direct encounter 
with the relevant authorities. Yet mercantilist and feudal ideas about the 



retention of skilled workers maintained their grip largely unaltered; the 
restrictions enunciated in the 1813 law remained in effect for artisans 
wishing to depart. 16 Needless to say, these kinds of restrictions on depar- 
ture, characteristic of most ancien regme states, anticipate later attempts 
to forestall "brain drain" out of the "Third World." 

With Wellington's final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the Great 
Powers of Europe proceeded to redraw the map of the continent. In this 
process, Prussia regained considerable portions of its old lands, as well 
as new territorial concessions that included two fifths of Saxony and 
extensive areas in the Rhineland and Westphalia. By absorbing parts of 
the more progressive and wealthy areas of the south and west, these 
acquisitions shifted Prussian geography sharply from its traditional 
eastern agricultural bastions. In addition, the treaties emerging from 
the Congress of Vienna erected a sort of halfway house on the road to 
German national unification. The German Confederation (Bund) cre- 
ated in 1815 included some thirty-nine members, among whom the 
leaders were Prussia and Austria (or more precisely those Habsburg and 
Hohenzollern lands that had previously been part of the Holy Roman 
Empire). The loose linking of the states of the German Confederation 
served the purposes of statesmen seeking to weigh down Prussian power 
on the one hand, and of small states worried about losing their 
sovereignty on the other. Yet it failed to satisfy enthusiasts of the German 
national project and thus imparted considerable impetus to their 
burgeoning cause." 

In this context, the Prussian King, Frederick William III, abolished 
the wartime statute of 1813 in order to reverse the earlier balance and 
now "pay as much regard to the freedom of travel and commerce as to 
security in the interior of our monarchy." The new passport law of 22 
June 1817 18 liberalized the restrictive provisions of the earlier law mainly 
(paragraph 4) by restoring to local, border, and port officials the author- 
ity to issue valid documents for entry into Prussia. Also added to the list 
of those authorized to give out passports for entry were Prussian diplo- 
mats accredited at foreign courts, official trade emissaries and consuls, 
and - most notably - the "national" and provincial officials of other states 
(even, in the case of those coming to Prussia simply to "take the waters," 
local officials of other states as well). This was an innovation, at least 
since the Napoleonic era; heretofore, the Prussian government had jeal- 
ously insisted that its indigenous organs alone should issue such 
documents. Those exempted from the requirements concerning an 
entry passport included ruling princes and the members of their house- 
holds, returning Prussian subjects in possession of a valid exit passport, 
craftsmen with a valid Wanderbuch, women with their husbands, and chil- 
dren with their parents. 



Exit from Prussia was, in the terms of 1817 passport law, another 
matter altogether. Technically, no one - whether native-born or foreign 
- was permitted to leave the country without a passport authorizing 
their departure. Exemption from these restrictions was provided for 
those not requiring a passport for entry and those who arrived from 
abroad with acceptable foreign passports, though these had to be visaed 
by the police in the Prussian town from which they were returning to 
their country of origin. In contrast to the situation with regard to entry 
passports, however, those for exit were not to be issued by local police 
officials, but only by authorities at the provincial level or higher. 
(Actually, officials of provincial governments were only permitted to 
issue passports if a passport from this relatively low level would satisfy the 
entry requirements in the country to which the person was traveling, 
"about which the [provincial] governments are to receive more detailed 
instructions from the Ministry of Police.") Foreign diplomats accredited 
to the Prussian court had the right to issue passports to other diplomatic 
personnel, but these still had to be visaed by the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs or the Ministry of Police, depending on the rank of the person- 
nel involved. 

In the third section, the law said simply that native Prussians 
(Inlander) moving about within the country required no passport from 
the police, "but may travel freely and unhindered without one." Such 
persons were nonetheless required to identify themselves to the police 
officers who might demand that they do so, on pain of various penalties. 
The next paragraph of the statute offered the possibility of acquiring an 
"identity card" (Legitimationskarte) to facilitate such identification, 
obtainable from either the Ministry of Police, the provincial govern- 
ment, or the police in the place of domicile. The card was to include the 
person's description (Signalement) , to be valid for one year, and to cost 
the relatively meager sum of four Groschen (including the two Groschen 
official stamp). Yet not all "Inlander" escaped the requirement of carry- 
ing a passport for internal movement; these non-exempt groups 
included certain types of journeymen, those traveling in postal con- 
veyances, and non-citizen Jews. 

All passports, whether for entry or departure, were to be visaed by the 
border police closest to the point of entry or exit, as well as by the police 
in those places where the bearer remained for a period exceeding 
twenty-four hours. The latter requirement was imposed upon internal 
passports as well. 

The slackening of documentary restrictions on movement mandated 
by the law was not to result in a diminution of public order, however. 
The law directed the various security organs to exercise a "greater atten- 
tion to and surveillance over travelers and strangers ... so that, despite 



the facilitation of movement accorded to the innocent traveler, public 
and private security should not be endangered, and so that the work of 
vagabonds and criminals is not made easier." In order to avoid a situa- 
tion in which the loosening of official documentary controls on 
movement would yield these results, the laws directed at these "danger- 
ous classes and individuals" were to be sharpened. The point of all these 
regulations was to insure that the "innocent" travelers be in a position to 
identify themselves, and to see to it that the suspicious and the danger- 
ous "come into contact as often as possible with the police." 19 In short, 
public security was not to fall by the wayside, however appropriate it 
might be to relax controls on movement during peacetime. The official 
response to the enhanced mobility of the lower classes, according to Alf 
Ludtke, "was to create a seamless web of registration (permits, residence 
permits, etc.) combined with the vigorous, but futile injunction to the 
police authorities 'not to let travelers out of their sight'." 20 

The new passport law of 1817 was of a piece with a broader loosening 
of controls on movement in post-Napoleonic Germany and in keeping 
with the proto-national character of the German Confederation. As 
Brubaker has noted, the Act of Confederation (Bundesakt) extended to 
all its member states a number of earlier bilateral agreements permit- 
ting greater freedom of movement and settlement among German 
states. 21 Yet the evidence we have seen from the Prussian passport law of 
1817 indicates clearly that Brubaker is premature in claiming that these 
treaties "abolished controls on exit but not on entry" and that "a person 
could leave any state [in the Confederation] without obtaining special 
permission . . ," 22 Even at mid-century, prospective emigrants from 
Germany typically "had to obtain certificates from the tax collector, the 
pastor, and from school district officials that he owed them no taxes or 
tithes; he had to be free or forgiven of private debt; he had to fill out 
elaborate forms, and relinquish his citizenship; by law he had to be 
officially informed that he was being foolish." 23 Although the actual 
enforcement of these strictures varied by time and place, and they were 
more or less ineffectual and easily skirted in any case, it is clear that the 
German states had not yet adopted a liberal stance with respect to depar- 
ture of their subjects. 

Nor was it only Prussia that sought to stem emigration. For example, 
Wiirttemberg, a Confederation member, still had a prohibition against 
emigration on its books, though the provision was enforced only selec- 
tively and in fact most emigration from the German lands during this 
period came from the southwest. Thus several thousand Swabians left 
for Russia before that country's enthusiasm about their coming waned 
in the face of declining supplies of free land in the Transcaucasus. In 
May 1817, the Wiirttemberg government therefore announced that it 



would no longer issue exit permits for Russia unless would-be emigrants 
had received certification to immigrate from the Russian authorities, 
who had no interest in absorbing destitute foreigners who would be 
unable to feed themselves without a plot of their own. The swarms of rel- 
atively impoverished prospective emigrants met similar responses from 
officials in western Prussia, the Duchy of Nassau, the Netherlands (at 
that time a province of the German Confederation), and Bavaria. As a 
result, by June of 1817, the government of Wurttemberg had broadened 
its requirements that emigrants meet the restrictions imposed by foreign 
governments; "this meant in effect that no passes would be issued to the 
sort of people who had been requesting them." 24 Even if people could 
get out of southwestern Germany, however, by 1819 the Russian govern- 
ment instructed its representative in Wurttemberg to visa no more 
passports for the Transcaucusus, which further complicated access to 
that region. 25 

Despite insistent pleas from local government officials who viewed emi- 
gration as a safety valve for their communities' straitened poor relief 
budgets and a last, desperate hope for the emigrants themselves, higher- 
level authorities equivocated. Grand Duke Karl of Baden said only that 
emigration "ought neither to be encouraged nor prohibited." In short, 
perhaps the best one can say is that policies regarding emigration from 
the German states were in some disarray, poised between older mercan- 
tilist attitudes chary of emigration and more liberal ones that viewed it as 
healthy for both the state and the emigrants themselves. Indeed, despite 
the official ban on emigration, the Wurttemberg government saw fit to 
establish a section for emigration affairs in the Interior Ministry in 1817. 
The barriers to departure posed by passport and other controls on move- 
ment were in all events hardly insurmountable; many - especially the 
indebted or those fleeing other obligations - simply left without them. 26 

I suspect that the confusion concerning Brubaker's claims about the 
freedom to exit lies in the translation of the term Freiziigigkeit. The term 
may be rendered as "freedom of movement" but its more technical mean- 
ing in German treaties and laws of the nineteenth century concerned 
freedom of settlement I am principally preoccupied here with the prob- 
lem of Bewegungsfreiheit - literally (and exclusively), freedom of 
movement. While the scope of each had expanded during the period in 
question, freedom of exit - irrespective of the question of where one 
intended to live - had not progressed as rapidly as the legal freedom to 
settle elsewhere than in one's original domicile, though freedom of set- 
tlement was hardly unencumbered as yet either. 27 

Prussia, certainly, had not yet abandoned the mercantilist attitude 
toward population that led it to oppose (though it did not technically 
prohibit) emigration as a matter of course. In 1820, beleaguered by an 



exodus of its subjects that it blamed on commercial emigration agents 
(forerunners of today's "coyotes" in Mexico, and of migration smugglers 
more generally), the Prussian government imposed jail terms on anyone 
found guilty of inducing its citizens to leave the country, and such curbs 
would remain a staple of Prussian policy at least until mid-century. 28 
Moreover, into the 1830s most of the German states denied passports to 
their departing subjects unless they could demonstrate that the destina- 
tion country would admit them. The result was that an early version of 
the visa system as we know it today began to operate, as prospective emi- 
grants went to the relevant foreign consulate to obtain the documents 
they needed in order to receive dispensation to leave their country. 29 
While such measures obviously reflect the persistence of mercantilist 
attitudes, it may also have been designed to protect potential migrants 
from giving up their livelihoods in Germany without being certain of 
landing on hospitable soil. As we shall see, it is precisely this rationale 
that was later offered for the creation of the American visa system in the 
1920s. Emigration restriction and paternalistic impulses commingled 
inextricably in laws such as these. 

In all events, although controls on movement within Prussia were 
lightened considerably during this period, the sort of un trammeled free- 
dom of exit which Brubaker identified as having taken place in the 
second decade of the nineteenth century would in fact still be some time 
in coming. 


In view of the apparent stringency at this time of Prussian restrictions on 
movement and especially on exit, it may be salutary to cast a sideward 
glance at the question of movement controls in the British Isles during 
this period. As the leading edge in the development of industrial capi- 
talism, Great Britain should presumably have led the way in the creation 
of free markets in labor, of which an essential component was the dis- 
mantling of "feudal" restraints and the consequent mobility of labor. 
Manufacturing industry could hardly advance without being able to 
draw in the hands it needed from wherever they might wish to come. 

As we have previously noted, the Elizabethan Poor Laws and the Act 
of Settlement and Removal of 1662 had created the legal foundations of 
"parish serfdom," which sharply restricted the movements of English 
subjects within the country. Given the social consequences of the enclo- 
sure of common lands, as a result of which "sheep ate men" and large 
numbers of peasants were forced off the land and into the arms of a still 
embryonic industry, it seems doubtful that the statute could have been 



very vigorously enforced. Still, in 1795 the British partially repealed the 
Act of Settlement in the interest of freeing hands to go where burgeon- 
ing capitalist enterprise needed them most. Parish serfdom was thus 
abolished and the physical mobility of English workers restored. Karl 
Polanyi has suggested that the simultaneous institution of the 
Speenhamland system, which provided poor relief in a number of 
English and Welsh counties regardless of earned income, discouraged 
workers from striking out in search of employment and thus stood in the 
way of a competitive national labor market. 30 Yet more recent research 
has indicated that the evidence is thin for "the notion of a rural popula- 
tion tied to its parishes by poor relief." 31 

To the enlarged freedom of internal movement enjoyed by English 
workers around this time was added a massive influx into England of 
Irish migrants, a flow considerably facilitated by the Act of Union in 
1800. The Act gave the Irish masses common citizenship in the United 
Kingdom, and thus greater access to English soil. For extraordinary 
numbers of Irishmen, to be sure, the trip across the Irish Sea was only 
the prelude to emigration to America; cheaper and more accessible 
passage was to be had from Liverpool than from Irish ports as a result of 
the more regular triangular trade between England and the United 
States. The upshot of this Irish migration was that "in place of one, there 
. . . emerged two closely interacting Irish societies poised on the oppo- 
site seaboards of the Atlantic . . ." 32 

This pattern substantially lessened the impact of Irish immigration on 
the English population. In part for this reason, as one observer has put 
it, "throughout the bulk of the period of mass Irish immigration, the 
British state adopted a more or less laissez faire open-door policy to the 
regulation of the new arrivals." 33 This relaxed stance toward Irish immi- 
gration to England would wane along with the decline among the 
British governing elite of mercantilist attitudes that favored population 
growth and retention, but it would be some time yet before decisive 
segments of the ruling classes abandoned those views. 

As in Prussia after the October Edict of 1807 emancipating the 
peasants, the enhanced freedom of internal movement within the 
United Kingdom after 1 795 did not necessarily entail greater freedom to 
depart the realm. The specter of "depopulation," that bogey of the 
mercantilist mind, still haunted the sleep of the British notables. 
Accordingly, Parliament adopted in 1803 the first of the so-called 
"Passenger Acts." Despite avowedly humanitarian intentions, which were 
embodied in the law's regulations concerning accommodations for 
transoceanic passengers who were then typically regarded by ship cap- 
tains as little more than a substitute for ballast, the Act was "cradled in 
mercantilism," and strict penalties were laid down for infractions of its 



provisions. While vigorous implementation of the 1803 Act would have 
improved the conditions of passage, it would also have cut down signifi- 
cantly on the number of those departing from England for American 
shores. Yet the first of the British Passenger Acts was never seriously 
enforced, according to their historian, Oliver MacDonagh. If it had 
been, in MacDonagh 's view, the emergence of the "Great Atlantic 
Migration" would likely have been severely inhibited. 34 

Only after Waterloo did the mercantilist impulse in migration policy 
begin to give way definitively to free trade - or at least to those who 
draped their "emigrationist" sentiments in its spreading robes. The ces- 
sation of hostilities brought a surge of unemployment, depression, and 
"Malthusian forebodings." The riots at Peterloo (Manchester) in 1819, 
during which ten demonstrators were killed and hundreds injured while 
protesting for working-class demands, helped to shock the ruling elite 
into awareness that the "social question" was gaining in political signifi- 
cance. Thus "by 1819 we find a select committee on the poor laws 
virtually recommending emigration to the workless," and Parliament in 
the same year made its first grant for state-supported colonization. 35 The 
British sought to export their joblessness by loosening restraints on - or, 
indeed, positively encouraging - departures. A desire to regulate a labor 
market conceived in national terms thus increasingly determined 
British policies concerning departure from the realm. 

As always, however, there were two sides to the migration coin. Just as 
the British were seeking to export their idle hands, economic distress led 
the United States - the chief destination of British emigrants despite gov- 
ernment attempts to steer them towards Canada - officially to discourage, 
if not to restrict immigration. As the publicist Hezekiah Niles put it in his 
Weekly Register: "The time has been when we were pleased to see the 
progress of emigration [from Europe]. It is now painful to observe it 
because of the want of employment for our own people." 36 The city of 
New York responded to the emergency by taking steps to limit the landing 
of aliens likely to become public charges. In the event, the measures were 
circumvented with relative ease and rendered largely ineffectual. 

The lean years faced by English laborers in the late 1810s and the social 
misery they engendered helped to concentrate the mind of the British 
elite in this respect. By the mid-1820s, free trade motives had come to 
dominate parliamentary debates over emigration policy. Long-standing 
bans on the departure of seamen and artisans - including a provision that 
every prospective emigrant present a certificate signed by the authorities 
in his native parish attesting that he was not a "manufacturer" or "artifi- 
cer" - and various regulations concerning emigrants and their possessions 
fell by the wayside in 1824-25. "The last survivals of the ancien regime" in 
emigration policy had finally given way before the liberal onslaught. 37 



Yet if departures were made easier in order to take the burden off the 
domestic labor market and poor rolls, it only made sense that access to the 
territory should be restricted to avoid the incursion of excess hands. The 
Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 abolished the Speenhamland system 
and took poor relief out of the hands of individual parishes. "The popula- 
tion of rural England," Marcus Lee Hansen has written, "after more than 
two centuries of stagnation, found itself in motion." This pruning back of 
disincentives to internal mobility further encouraged the national govern- 
ment to reduce the numbers of the indigent in England, for it now 
assumed greater responsibility for the country's poor. Not coincidentally, 
the Act authorized the use of local funds to assist in emigration schemes. 
As free trade replaced mercantilism, the labor market and poor relief were 
increasingly "nationalized"; poor relief legislation was extended to Ireland 
in 1837. 38 "Free trade" implied not open borders, but protection of the 
labor and welfare "markets" at the national rather than the local level. 

This interpretation seems the only sensible way to understand why 
Great Britain in 1836 moved sharply toward the regulation of foreigners, 
for the English had long been remarkably open to outsiders. The Magna 
Carta of 1215 had guaranteed to merchants from other lands the right 
to come into and leave England at will "except in time of war and if they 
are of the land that is at war with us." Even then, such persons would 
remain unmolested if the King determined that his subjects were well- 
treated in the countries with which he was at war. 39 Yet war played no 
role in the 1836 legislation. Instead, bad harvests in Scotland and the 
breakup of traditional agriculture in Ireland made for hard times. 40 

The Aliens Restriction Act of 1836, coming at a time when the great 
powers in Europe were at peace with one another, heralded a new 
departure. 41 Henceforth ship captains arriving "from foreign parts" were 
to declare to the chief customs officer in the port of arrival the name, 
rank, occupation, and description of any aliens on board. Furthermore, 
any non-English person was required, upon disembarkation at any port 
of the Kingdom, to present to the customs officer "any passport which 
may be in his or her possession," or to make a declaration to him stating 
"to what country he or she belongs and is subject, and the country and 
place from whence he or she shall then have come." The language of 
the ordinance suggests that the British government was not expecting 
that every foreigner arriving on its shores would, in fact, be in possession 
of a passport and did not appear to make admission contingent on pre- 
sentation of such a document. The British were nonetheless noticeably 
ahead of the Germans, at least in the letter of the law, when it came to 
recognition of the fact that travelers might be male or female. 

Exempted from these requirements were authorized representatives of 
foreign governments and their domestic servants, as well as any alien who 



had lived continuously within the realm for three years, provided that this 
was certified by the appropriate officials. Yet exemptions from documen- 
tary evidence of nationality create their own problems; nationality cannot 
be read off a person's forehead, and thus it requires some sort of persua- 
sive demonstration, usually involving other documents than those normally 
required. The Aliens Restriction Act thus noted that "if any question shall 
arise whether any person alleged to be an alien ... is an alien or not . . . 
the proof that such person is ... a natural-born subject of his Majesty, or a 
denizen of this Kingdom, or a naturalized subject, or that such person, if 
an alien, is not subject to the provisions of this Act or any of them . . . shall 
lie on the person so alleged to be an alien . . ." 

Such provisos presumably stimulated the development of documen- 
tary attestations of a person's right to claim access to British soil, a 
function eventually assumed by the passport though at this point the 
requirement concerned precisely those who asserted claims to entry 
without need of a passport (i.e., British subjects). One imagines that, 
under these circumstances, well-dressed travelers speaking the King's 
English probably had no difficulty passing as Englishmen and -women, 
whereas "passing" in this manner was probably more difficult for a 
notional Italian shoemaker who, despite having plied his trade in 
London for two decades at his Majesty's pleasure, wished to return to his 
workshop after a visit to la famiglia in Turin. Our shoemaker would have 
needed some sort of papers demonstrating his claim to entry. 

Foreshadowing later developments, the Act also required that customs 
officials keep an "aliens list," although at least one commentator has 
suggested that this was a "rather haphazard practice." 42 Rounding out 
the regulations was a requirement that aliens make known to those offi- 
cials their intention to depart the realm before doing so. In addition to 
subjecting incoming aliens to heightened scrutiny that could provide 
the classificatory foundation for their exclusion by establishing their 
alienage, the Act thus promoted the creation of the administrative 
machinery necessary for the state to keep track of all aliens leaving and 
sojourning in the country at any given time. 

Such legislation was hardly in keeping with any principled notion of 
free trade, which now carried the day in other respects, culminating in 
the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. The enhanced energy devoted to 
keeping track of aliens was consistent, however, with the policy of the 
so-called "emigrationists" to encourage and facilitate departures from 
"overpopulated" areas of the realm, especially Ireland, and with a 
broader British effort to reduce the size of the resident population and 
thus to ameliorate problems of unemployment. Even if it was no 
paragon of economic liberalism, the 1836 Act marked a departure from 
the "population is good" mentality characteristic of mercantilism. The 



Aliens Restriction Act pointed to the rising inclination of European gov- 
ernments to create bureaucratic mechanisms that would allow them to 
keep track of entering persons' nationality - a capacity which, in turn, 
would permit them more successfully to limit unwanted foreign immi- 
gration when they wished to do so. The Act was also a salutary reminder 
that the expansion of the freedom of movement in Europe was by no 
means absolute. The British blazed the trail that led to the elimination 
of controls on "internal" movements and the displacement of those con- 
trols to the "national" borders. The "foreigner," once perhaps only from 
the next parish, was increasingly the alien, the non-national. 

The United Kingdom moved to strengthen its capacity to identify and 
regulate the movements of foreigners at the same time that it inaugu- 
rated a domestic free market in labor. Great Britain thus preceded 
Prussia in achieving this essential precondition of industrial capitalism. 
Yet in the second half of the nineteenth century, when Germany finally 
pruned away the dense feudal underbrush still blocking the path toward 
a free labor market, the manpower needs of German industry would 
lead Prussia and its confederal partners to pursue a quite different 
course than that taken by the British. When the North German 
Confederation set about abolishing the last vestiges of the ancien regime 
in its lands, it would open its "domestic" labor market to all comers, 
whether "German" or foreign. The difference in approach can be 
attributed to timing: when the British brought their free national labor 
market into being, they felt they had too much labor power on hand; 
when the Prussians did so, they feared they had too little. 


The expanded freedom of mobility attendant upon the emancipation of 
the serfs in early nineteenth-century Prussia cast into bold relief the 
tension between presence in a particular place and the right to mem- 
bership therein. In particular, the unwonted circulation of "masterless 
men" threw out of joint systems of social provision in which membership 
rights had been predicated on residence. The growing freedom to move 
around within the territory of the German states increasingly drove the 
individual states to determine who had access to their territories and to 
the benefits of membership in them. 

Accordingly, the nineteenth century was a golden age of the codifica- 
tion of citizenship laws, a process directly motivated by the need to 
establish who did and who did not have a right to the benefits of mem- 
bership in these states. In the German lands, the revision of membership 
statutes in response to the decline of serfdom and the attendant rise in 



mobility among the popular classes began shortly after the Congress of 
Vienna. First, in Bavaria, the new Constitution of 1818 stipulated that 
only those in possession of the so-called Indigenat (i.e., Bavarian "nation- 
als") were to be permitted full enjoyment of citizenship (biirgerliche) , 
public, and private rights. At the same time, acquisition of the Indigenat 
was made a matter of descent, replacing the principle of residence 
( Wohnsitzprinzip) that had previously held sway. Most of the other states of 
the German Confederation followed suit soon thereafter. 43 

Membership based on residence in a particular place may have been 
well suited to a context in which few people moved around. In contrast, 
membership rooted in descent was a means of coping with the fact that 
enhanced mobility made it more and more difficult to determine who 
belonged and who did not, and helped states "hold onto" population 
temporarily - or even permanently - living elsewhere than within the 
state's territorial boundaries. Jus sanguinis (the "law of the blood") 
might thus be thought of as a sort of migratory mercantilism, which 
"held onto" people wherever they might choose to go. In contrast to the 
migratory mercantilism oijus sanguinis, the jus soli (the "law of the soil") 
principle might be regarded as a sedentary mercantilism: hence its 
application in openly mercantilist (and physiocratic) ancien regime 
France, in late nineteenth-century France when population deficits were 
a matter of considerable concern in the face of growing German mili- 
tary power, and in the United States when it sought to encourage 
immigrants to spawn future citizens to populate its vast territories. 44 

Brubaker has argued that this process of defining who belonged to 
different states - who was or was not a citizen - "was not the product of 
the internal development of the modern state. Rather, it emerged from 
the dynamics of interstate relations within a geographically compact, 
culturally consolidated, economically unified, and politically (loosely) 
integrated state system." 45 While useful for suggesting the "interna- 
tional" components that help determine "domestic" citizenship laws, 
this point requires some modification. First, the state system - and 
hence the distinction between "internal" and "external" - remained in 
many respects inchoate at this time. Yet "internal" concerns surely 
played their part along with "interstate" considerations; Brubaker pre- 
sumably means that citizenship laws were not only the product of 
internal developments. More importantly, perhaps, and unlike the situa- 
tion in post-revolutionary France, many German towns during the first 
half of the nineteenth century retained rights to define membership 
and exclude non-members that were incompatible with citizenship sys- 
tems conceived on the model of the internally unified nation-state, in 
which all were putatively equal before the central government. 



The problem of municipal autonomy was less severe in Prussia than 
in the states and principalities of South Germany, where the towns had 
long enjoyed privileges that set them off from the larger cities and the 
countryside and which the towns defended jealously and zealously. This 
tradition would prove a major stumbling block to the first German unifi- 
cation that was ultimately consummated in 1871. 46 In Prussia, however, 
the situation was different "because local self-government there was a 
bureaucratic gift to apathetic townsmen." 47 Yet even in Prussia, the 
authority of towns to define who belonged and who did not, and to 
exclude those it did not wish to admit to its ranks, stood in the way of the 
legal and administrative unification of the territory. 

In 1842-43, Prussia moved to overcome this barrier to its superordi- 
nate control over who came and went within its dominions. First, the 
"Law on the Acquisition and Loss of the Quality of Prussian Subject" sys- 
tematically defined who was to be regarded as a Prussian subject. This 
pathbreaking statute subsequently served as a model for citizenship laws 
in a number of other north and central German states. 48 Brubaker has 
neatly described the underlying motivation for this redefinition of 

Effective closure against the migrant poor required a sharper separation 
of membership and residence, and a reversal in their causal relationship. 
Domicile should be contingent on membership, not membership on 
domicile. Membership, defined independendy of residence, should be 
the fundamental category. 49 

The membership law was enacted together with two others, which 
respectively regulated freedom of setdement within Prussia and the terms 
under which its municipalities were required to admit migrants from 
other parts of the Kingdom. The laws on internal migration guaranteed 
freedom of settlement to all but the currently indigent and limited the 
right of communal bodies to deny entry to such persons, which until then 
had been an important feature of their control over poor relief. These 
statutes thus deprived Prussian municipalities of their earlier authority to 
close their doors to those they merely feared might become public 
charges. 50 At the same time, Prussia affirmed the right of its subjects to 
emigrate, except those who owed military service obligations. 51 

Taken together, these laws constituted a major contribution to the 
construction of a labor market that was truly "national" in scope. By 
codifying the criteria associated with Prussian state membership 
(Staatsangehdrigkeit) , the government clarified the distinction between 
Prussian and non-Prussian. At the same time, by compelling local offi- 
cials to accept as residents anyone at least initially able to provide for 
themselves, and to afford them poor relief if it subsequently became 



necessary, the Prussian government facilitated the internal migration of 
labor that was essential to the country's industrial development. The 
effect of these measures was to expand the horizons of mobility of 
Prussian subjects and to subject the communes increasingly to unified 
poor relief legislation of "national" scope. This transformation made of 
Prussia a larger, more coherent space from the point of view of free set- 
tlement and pushed outward the legal boundaries of alienage. In legal 
terms, the stranger (der Fremde) was increasingly transformed into the 
foreigner (der Auslander) , the person from another place into the person 
from another country, the local resident into the national. 

Because the migration thus engendered was predominantly from 
east to west and from countryside to city, however, business elites in the 
more industrialized western portions of Prussia actually opposed these 
measures. They foresaw the potential for large numbers of needy 
migrants "falling on the rates" in periods of economic downturn, a fiscal 
responsibility that their municipalities would be forced to assume under 
the new arrangements. George Stein metz has demonstrated that the 
Prussian bureaucracy regarded it as necessary under these circum- 
stances to play the role of an "enlightened capitalist," overriding the 
narrow egoism of the commercial bourgeoisie that controlled the west- 
ern German industrial dues in favor of a broader vision of Prussia's 
capitalist future. 52 

From the point of view of the sending regions, the system encouraged 
able-bodied villagers to make their way to the industrial districts of the 
west without fear that they would find themselves bereft of support in 
time of need. At the same time, the sending villages were absolved of the 
need to provide for their own non-resident poor, a fact that naturally 
helped secure their endorsement of the redistribution of responsibility 
for poor relief. It was not until the Poor Law was revised again in 1855 
that the distribution of the burdens was reversed, as the principle of res- 
idency (Wohnsitz) was entirely eclipsed in favor of that of the "residence 
for purposes of poor relief ( Unterstutzungswohnsitz) . By mandating that 
municipalities' responsibility for poor relief accrued only after one year 
of residency, the 1855 law effectively reversed the earlier flow of liability 
for poor support and made sending areas once again responsible for 
their non-resident poor, at least for the first - and riskiest - year. Now it 
was the agrarians' turn to cry foul, for the new system would force those 
unable to support themselves to return to their home villages to seek 
poor relief. 53 In all events, these steps well served the functional require- 
ments of capitalist industrialization in Prussia. 

Although Prussia had gone a considerable distance in the direction 
of creating subjects with equal rights to establish themselves across the 
territory of the country, it still had some distance to go before it could 



claim to have created a free labor market of truly national scope in 
which Prussians were at liberty to move around as they wished. 
Documentary controls on their movements remained an annoying hin- 
drance that would be removed only as Germany took the last, decisive 
steps on the road to "national" unification. In the event, the "national" 
labor market that was then called into being was, from our contempo- 
rary perspective, remarkably open to non-Germans. 


Until mid-century, the German states continued to throw obstacles in 
the way of would-be emigrants. Often the authorities pursued this aim by 
imposing taxes and fees (such as the so-called Nachsteuer) designed to 
discourage exit or to make it impossible for those with insufficient 
means. Shaken by the revolutionary upheavals that rocked virtually all of 
Europe in 1848, however, numerous German states relaxed such restric- 
tions. In part, this shift was intended to provide a safety valve for social 
unrest, giving unhindered passage to those who were most troublesome 
to the authorities. Yet it also reflected the liberalism of the forces that 
spearheaded the Frankfurt Parliament, which included among its draft 
catalog of fundamental rights a provision that the state was no longer to 
be permitted to restrict the right of emigration except with respect to 
the fulfillment of military service obligations. This notion found its way 
into the majority of the new constitutions of the German states. Various 
proposals for the creation of an official Reich agency to regulate 
migrants - emigrants, not immigrants - failed to achieve consensus 
before the Frankfurt parliament was reduced to a cadaver; according to 
critics of these schemes, administrative resources for such offices were 
simply unavailable. 54 

Despite this insurgent liberalism in emigration policy, the ascent to 
the French throne of Louis Napoleon after his "Eighteenth Brumaire" 
alerted German rulers to the fact that they might soon need to muster 
the troops again. They therefore sought to keep young men from leav- 
ing indiscriminately, efforts that were stepped up as the Crimean War of 
1854-56 approached. The actual difficulties of departure depended to a 
considerable extent upon where and how one sought to leave. "Passport 
formalities were more or less perfunctory" in France, making it relatively 
easy for those wishing to slip across the Rhine to escape their military 
obligations. In contrast, embarkation in Hamburg or Bremen was 
complicated by strict official supervision of steamship passengers, owing 
to these cities' concern to remain on good terms with interior states 
anxious to retain potential soldiers. 55 



As these developments suggest, the 1850s generally presented the 
picture of a continuing struggle between a liberal attitude toward free- 
dom of departure and the persistence of mercantilist habits of mind 
concerning the value of population to state power. On the liberal 
side, a "Pass-Card Treaty" (Passkartenvertrag) of 18 October 1850 among 
"all the German states" except the Netherlands, Denmark, Hessen- 
Homburg, and Liechtenstein loosened passport requirements for 
travelers among them. 56 The treaty simplified and standardized the 
information that was to be included in pass-cards: the coat-of-arms of 
the issuing state; signature and seal or stamp of the issuing authority; 
name, status [Stand], and residence of the bearer; pass register number, 
and the bearer's description - age, "characteristics" (Natur), hair color, 
and distinguishing marks. The practice of taking away a traveler's pass- 
card for the duration of his or her stay was not expressly abolished, but 
in practice merely showing it to the authorities was generally regarded 
as adequate. (Those who have traveled from the territory of the former 
German Democratic Republic into West Berlin - where one's passport 
was placed on a conveyor belt and disappeared into a makeshift border 
control booth while it was being checked - will appreciate that this 
apparently minor change of practice would have contributed markedly 
to lessening the anxiety of those presenting their pass-cards for inspec- 
tion.) Above all, however, visas were no longer required. Soon 
thereafter, an agreement between Austria, Bavaria, Wurttemberg, and 
other states mutually abolished visa requirements; Bavaria soon elimi- 
nated the practice altogether as "useless." 

Yet the Pass-Card Treaty of 1850 bore signs of the persistence of the 
old regime as well. First, no subject of any of the participating states 57 
had an absolute right to a pass-card. The document was to be issued only 
to those known to the authorities and considered to be "reliable" (zuver- 
lassig), able to support themselves, and with their principal residence 
in the district where the pass-card was to be issued. Those found guilty 
of any crime, as well as tramping journeymen (wandernde Gesellen), 
servants, jobseekers of all kinds, and those practicing itinerant occupa- 
tions, were not to receive pass-cards. "These limitations," according to a 
contemporary analyst of passport affairs, "have the advantage for the 
bearer of a pass-card that, simply by virtue of having this certificate 
(Legitimation), he is recommended to the police authorities as a reliable 
person." Under the circumstances, this was of course true; if pass-cards 
are required, then those lacking them are ipso facto lawbreakers. Clearly, 
however, these restrictions on access to a pass-card reflected a continued 
desire to regulate above all the "lower orders" of society, those always 
potentially "dangerous classes" whose desire or need to move about 
unsettled the authorities in a putatively sedentary society. 



The German states were thus still divided over the matter of granting 
an unrestricted right of emigration to their members, as the Frankfurt 
Parliament had proposed. Indeed, when the Frankfurt Assembly of 
August 1856 created a commission to consider a federal law on emigra- 
tion, the results of its investigation revealed a wide diversity of attitudes 
among the various German states concerning this issue. Twenty of the 
thirty-odd states of the German Confederation favored a requirement 
that would-be emigrants obtain an "authorization to emigrate," and that 
this authorization be shown before any transportation agreement could 
be entered into. Only twelve states opposed the first requirement and 
eleven the second. 58 

Despite lingering mercantilist attitudes, however, rulers in the 
German lands increasingly found themselves drawn ineluctably toward a 
more liberal stance in migration matters. Over the next several years, 
passport and visa requirements were relaxed or abolished between 
"German" states (including the Netherlands) and a series of other coun- 
tries, such as England, France, Belgium, and the Scandinavian countries 
(although often such relaxation acquired force only where it was recip- 
rocal). Saxony eliminated visa requirements entirely in 1862. The 
Prussian House of Representatives {Landtag) took up a bill to liberalize 
passport controls in the same year. Yet disagreements over the matter of 
the government's right temporarily to reintroduce passport require- 
ments in times of emergency dragged out the discussion, and the Polish 
insurrection of 1863 intervened to kill the bill's chances of adoption. 59 

Also in 1862, Switzerland eliminated visa requirements and abolished 
the requirement of a passport for entry into or travel within its territory. 
A report from the Canton of Basel suggests the extent to which the aban- 
donment of certain types of documentary controls was perceived in 
some quarters, at least, as simply an unavoidable capitulation to techno- 
logical changes introduced by the arrival of the railroad: 

Insofar as travelers tend to stop only after great distances that they have 
traversed at great speed, and one simply cannot visa their papers after 
every little stretch, passports have lost their original value and have 
become simply an identification document, similar to local identity papers 
(Heimathscheine) , pass-cards, etc. Moreover, the personnel responsible for 
passport control have made but few discoveries. The regular arrival of the 
trains and the telegraph are more important for the police. With the 
changed means of travel, the police have been forced to give up the more 
trivial things and have, so to speak, acquired an international type of 
activity with which previously they had nothing to do. 60 

From this perspective, the narrow, "internal" borders of old were crum- 
bling before the onrush of the trains, simultaneously transforming 
"domestic" policing into an international undertaking. The massive 



improvement in transportation opportunities for the ordinary person 
would soon help persuade German political elites that passport controls 
had been rendered largely ineffective, contributing to their willingness 
to let them sink into obsolescence. 

Yet despite the general trend toward relaxation of regulations that 
had required documentation authorizing a specific journey or travel in 
general, states were not prepared to give up entirely their ability to 
"embrace" mobile people in some fashion. Accordingly, in all of the 
cases in which passport requirements were abolished, the states in ques- 
tion simultaneously demanded that persons be in a position to identify 
themselves in some reliable and acceptable way. The loosening of states' 
control over movement did not - and indeed, without a slide toward a 
more anarchical state system, could not - mean the abandonment of its 
right and capacity to identify persons for purposes of administration and 

Within the various German states themselves, the 1860s were a period 
of intense pressure on the part of the bourgeoisie to sweep away out- 
moded obstacles to the functioning of an industrial capitalist economy. 
Up and down the country, liberal industrialists and opinion-makers 
demanded freedom of entry into any trade (Gewerbefreiheit) , freedom of 
movement, and freedom of settlement. Burgeoning industry needed 
hands, and these freedoms were essential to ensuring that it could have 
them when it needed them. 

Freedom of movement was vital to employers, the Essen chamber of 
commerce noted, for if "indigenous" workers were permitted to upset 
the supply of labor by using the strike weapon in labor disputes, employ- 
ers must be free to reestablish the balance by drawing in new workers 
from outside. Moreover, according to the chamber of commerce in 
Breslau (Wroclaw): 

It is not enough that freedom of movement be introduced in one state. It 
is necessary that in general every citizen of a German state be free to apply 
his energy wherever in his opinion he can do so most advantageously, that 
industry take its workers wherever it can find them, and that the various 
regions transfer their labor force or temporary population surplus without 
hindrance and in accordance with their needs. 61 

Traditional German Kleins taaterei (the profusion of small principalities, 
dukedoms, etc., that dotted the Central European landscape) and the 
privileges of towns fettered the emergence of a vibrant industrial capi- 
talism, which demanded that the area in which Germans should be able 
to move freely be pushed outward toward the "national" boundaries. 

Yet the labor needs of German industry took liberals even further in 
their calls for greater freedom of movement. So desperate were many of 



the factory barons for labor power that they wanted to open Germany to 
anyone who might wish to try their luck there. Liberal propagandists 
thus proposed to extend the freedom of movement to foreigners as well. 
By adopting laws guaranteeing the freedom of movement, wrote the 
liberal Berlin National-Zeitung, 

we shall first of all create for the German a fatherland in the matters which 
are closest to him. We shall retain the strength and ability which grow so 
abundantly in our soil, and we will attract from other nations the strength 
and ability which can and want to contribute in our commonwealth to our 
welfare, honor, and might. Through freedom of movement we shall create 
public spirit and national sentiment, welfare and contentment. 62 

The newspaper's editors apparently saw no contradiction in the notion 
that foreigners might wish to contribute to German "welfare, honor, 
and might"; they seem to have regarded it as a foregone conclusion that 
takers would be found for this proposition. 

The Darmstadt chamber of commerce was even blunter about its atti- 
tude toward opening Germany to the free entry of foreigners: 

From the point of view of economic interests, which cannot be influenced 
by considerations of foreign policy, the extension of this freedom of move- 
ment to outsiders should not be denied under any circumstances, not 
even when there is no reciprocity. For the inflow of foreign capital, labor, 
and intelligence can only have a good influence on the development of 
the country, never a harmful effect. 63 

The internationalism of the German bourgeoisie with respect to labor 
recruitment was stimulated in part, of course, by a massive emigration - 
principally to the United States, to which a million and a quarter 
Germans had moved during the decade of the 1850s 64 - of potential 
workers availing themselves of the recently enhanced freedom to leave 
the country. Despite French fears of demographic inferiority that led 
them to dragoon colonial troops in order to remain militarily competi- 
tive with the Germans, 65 industrialists across the Rhine worried that their 
countrymen were escaping, via emigration, the great maw of factory 
work that they needed to keep fed. 

The powerful forces - both political and technological - driving in 
the direction of greater freedom to move around on the part of the pop- 
ular classes entered on a collision course, however, with the policing 
impulses of the German states. In Prussia, for example, the police had 
grown increasingly preoccupied with the surveillance and control of the 
"dangerous classes" during the first half of the nineteenth century. 
According to Alf Liidtke: 

With a few exceptions, the "higher," cultivated and educated classes were 
seen as those "elements" which underpinned and supported the state; in 



contrast, the "lower popular classes" constituted an unpredictable latent 
force whose menace could erupt on the streets, or in the taverns, at any 
moment - a ready refuge for anti-state "machinations." 

Police vigilance was especially intense with respect to itinerants, vagrants, 
beggars, and wandering journeymen, who were most likely to suffer the 
indignities of harassment by the Passport and Aliens Police {Pafi- und 
Fremdenpolizei) . m There is little reason to think that the situation differed 
dramatically in other German states; indeed, in the South, where towns' 
authority to exclude the poor remained greater, surveillance of the float- 
ing population may well have been even more strict than in Prussia. 

It was against this background that Saxony, Bavaria, Hanover, and 
Wurttemberg concluded the Passport Treaty of 7 February 1865. 67 The 
treaty abolished the requirement that travelers within these states, 
whether their subjects or foreigners, be equipped with a passport for 
entry, exit, or internal circulation, as well as any obligation to have 
papers visaed by the authorities. At the same time, however, in keeping 
with states' need to maintain their embrace of populations for policing 
purposes, travelers still had to be able to demonstrate satisfactorily to the 
authorities who they were, where they officially resided, and, "if the 
purpose and duration of the trip made it necessary," that they had the 
means to support themselves. In order to be in a position to "legitimate" 
themselves in this manner, members of the contracting states were 
permitted to request an appropriate travel document from the relevant 
officials; these documents were to be regarded as valid across the terri- 
tories of those states. While each state retained the right to determine 
which officials were authorized to issue these travel documents, the 
parties to the treaty agreed to limit such authority to the municipality in 
which the applicants maintained their official residence. Foreigners who 
were otherwise able to legitimate themselves adequately could also 
receive a document for travel within the territories covered by the agree- 
ment, valid for four weeks. Those hailing from one of the other 
contracting states could do the same, but only under the condition that 
officials in the place of official residence be informed. The parties to the 
treaty also agreed to endeavor to develop simplified, standardized 
formats for their travel documents, and to recognize as valid for travel 
purposes those identification documents required of "specific classes of 
persons in order to pursue their occupations, such as the 'service books' 
(Dienstbucher) of domestic servants, the 'work books' (Arbeitsbucher) of 
itinerant journeymen and factory workers, etc., as long as they include a 
personal description and the signature of the bearer." 

Despite these moves to liberalize passport controls on both German 
and foreign travelers, the itinerant poor remained subject to special 



restrictions. In order to travel legally in the territories of the contracting 
states, persons whose work required them to move about - "musicians, 
organ grinders, conjurers, tight-rope walkers, marionette puppeteers, 
those traveling with wild or trained animals, knife sharpeners, etc." - 
were still required to obtain travel authorization from the appropriate 
officials in their state of residence, and these documents were to include 
their state or municipal membership, description, and signature. More 
significandy, those seeking to find work or to enter domestic service 
were subject to the same requirement. The contracting states were also 
at liberty to retain or introduce visa requirements for these groups. 

Finally, there remained two clauses devoted to special security mea- 
sures with respect to passport policy. The contracting parties were free to 
deny passports that might be requested by those "from whom there is 
reason to fear that they may endanger public security." Each of the parties 
to the treaty, moreover, retained the right temporarily to reintroduce 
passport requirements "in cases of threat to public security as a result of 
war, unrest, or other events or for other substantial reasons." 

It is hardly surprising that the contracting states would wish to reserve 
to themselves the authority to impose restrictions on movement when 
they felt the need to do so, but the continued subjection of the itinerant 
"dangerous classes" to special passport obligations flew in the face of 
liberal demands for freedom of movement and travel. Under mercantil- 
ism, foreigners had often enjoyed greater freedom to come and go than 
did subjects of a particular realm, typically because of efforts to restrain 
the departure of those with especially desirable skills. Here, however, the 
matter was different: special control was exercised exclusively over the 
lower classes, who were treated more like "foreigners" in our contempo- 
rary terms. The mentality underlying the 1865 passport treaty viewed 
the mobile poor as potential criminals who, as such, should always be 
subjected to anticipatory surveillance. The resemblance to the treat- 
ment of foreigners today, under a more fully developed interstate system 
rooted in the idea of the nation-state, is unmistakable. The lower classes 
in Germany at this point constituted something like an internal "for- 
eign" nation. 68 Yet in consequence of its drive toward creating the 
necessary preconditions of capitalist industry, Prussia would soon spear- 
head a move to liberalize controls on movement more thoroughly, 
specifically exempting the "dangerous classes" as well as foreigners. 


Although it had been a party to the negotiations leading up to the 1865 
Passport Treaty, Prussia ultimately refused to endorse the agreement. 



The terms of the pact had nonetheless left the door open to "all states of 
the German Confederation" who had not originally signed on to accede 
to it at their convenience, an opportunity of which a number of other 
states quickly availed themselves. By the following year, however, the 
German Confederation was in a shambles. The Peace of Prague (1866) 
that concluded Prussian hostilities with Austria and France mandated 
that Prussia form a new confederation in the German lands. Yet the 
states of the south, with their traditions of local autonomy, regarded with 
considerable trepidation the prospect of finding themselves submerged 
in any federated structure led by Berlin. Indeed, a Prussian agent in 
Wurttemberg reported to his superiors in the capital that southerners 
were mocking the constitution of the North German Confederation that 
had been submitted to the constituent Reichstagin February 1867, saying 
it included "only three articles: 1. pay, 2. be a soldier, 3. keep your mouth 
shut." At first unable to obtain consensus on a new confederation with 
the southern states, Bismarck setded instead for a sort of halfway house 
on the road to the further consolidation of Germandom. In May 1867, 
the Prussian Landtag assented to the constitution, and the North 
German Confederation was born. 69 

Though largely comprising and certainly dominated by nobles, the 
Reichstag of the Confederation soon turned its attention to the concerns 
pressed upon it by liberals and industrialists, particularly including the 
matters of freedom of movement and travel. While the strongly agrarian 
and aristocratic composition of the North German political elite may 
make this seem paradoxical, it was not. Steinmetz has noted that while 
the Prussian-German state was controlled by groups whose social phys- 
iognomy might lead us to expect an instinctive hostility to industrial 
capitalism, "at almost every critical juncture these very elites sided with 
industry against agriculture and promoted the penetration of capitalist 
markets and a capitalist logic in parts of society that were still relatively 
traditional." 70 So it was when they turned their attention to the issue of 
controls on movement. 

The proposed passport law for the North German Confederation was 
introduced into the Reichstag at Bismarck's behest on 18 September 
1867." In most respects the law followed the terms of the Passport 
Treaty of 1865 between Saxony, Bavaria, Hanover, and Wurttemberg. 
The bill thus proposed to abolish passport and visa requirements for 
subjects of the states of the Confederation as well as for foreigners, 
irrespective of whether they were entering, leaving, or moving about 
within the territory comprised by the Confederation's member-states. 
The law also forbade the continued use or introduction of so-called 
"residency cards" (Aufenthaltskarten) throughout the territory of the 
Confederation. According to the official commentary accompanying 



the bill, these certificates had already faded from administrative practice 
in most of the municipalities of Saxony and Prussia. The law intended to 
abolish only those documents designed purely to regulate residency; 
those necessary for the continued practice of a trade - even though they 
might be referred to as "residency cards" - were permitted to remain. 
The legislators' purpose here was clearly to eliminate restrictions on 
residency rather than on access to occupations, which they understood 
would persist in certain areas. 

At the same time, the proposed law reaffirmed the right of the author- 
ities to demand that travelers "legitimate themselves" in some reliable 
fashion. In furtherance of this objective, the bill provided a legal right to 
a passport for any subject of the Confederation who wished to request 
one, as long as no legal grounds stood in the way. 72 This provision was 
clearly intended to facilitate movement by guaranteeing subjects of the 
Confederation access to travel documents they might have felt would be 
useful, even if they were not required. Moreover, the proposed law man- 
dated that the costs associated with the issuance of a passport should not 
exceed the modest sum of one Thaler, and could indeed be distributed 
gratis at the discretion of the issuing state. The bill also envisioned a stan- 
dardization of the passport documents used by the various states. 

It is worth noting that the right to a passport was granted exclusively 
to subjects of the Confederation. The failure to mention any terms upon 
which foreigners might gain access to German passports - though in 
fact they continued to do so - suggests that the interstate system of 
movement controls was taking more coherent shape as a framework 
regulating the movements of stricdy demarcated bodies of citizens 
defined by their legal nationality. Less and less frequently would persons 
travel in alien territories with papers issued by another state than that of 
which they were nationals. 

Finally, echoing the provisions of the 1865 Passport Treaty, the 
bill reserved to the presiding authority of the Confederation 
(Bundesprdsidium) the right to reinstitute passport controls temporarily 
in the event that "the security of the Confederation or of an individual 
member state, or the public order, appears threatened by war, internal 
unrest, or other developments." The authors of the commentary on the 
bill regarded it as "inappropriate" (unthunlich) to attempt to list these 
various possible "developments" specifically, a fact that would goad the 
civil-libertarian proclivities of several parliamentarians when the bill 
came up for discussion in parliament. 

The authors of the new law observed that, because some of the signa- 
tories of the 1865 Passport Treaty were now members of the North 
German Confederation, the Confederation needed to develop a pass- 
port policy that met with their assent. The legislators expressed the hope 



that a further agreement could be reached with the south German states 
soon after the present proposal had been adopted, resulting in a unifi- 
cation of passport law throughout the German lands that would soon 
constitute the second German Empire after 1871. 

Here the most likely source of potential friction was the North German 
law's rejection of special passport obligations for the "dangerous classes" 
as had been provided for in the 1865 treaty. Despite the bill's broad simi- 
larities with that agreement, in this respect the proposed law went much 
further toward liberalizing passport policy than had the treaty. Aside from 
expanding the area in which freedom from passport requirements held 
sway, therefore, the most important feature of the bill lay in what it did not 
do: no groups of the population were singled out as liable to comply with 
special passport or visa obligations. This absence of particular restrictions 
on the lower orders marked the most significant departure of the 1867 law 
from the provisions of the earlier treaty. 

The commentary on the bill spoke directly to this conflict between 
the two laws. First, the authors noted that the bill's stipulations did not 
affect statutes requiring specific occupational groups to equip them- 
selves with documents, such as itinerant apprentices with their 
Wanderbiicher or domestic servants their Dienstbiicher. To be sure, these 
documents could serve the aim of regulating movement. But it was deci- 
sive, according to the authors of the bill, that these certificates had not 
been originally or mainly intended for this purpose. Rather, possession 
of such documents was "in the interest" of the bearer, for they facilitated 
the search for work. 

This was especially so, the explanation went on, in those cases where 
guild organization maintained sway, and the evidence of a years-long 
apprenticeship provided by the Wanderbiicher was indispensable for gain- 
ing access to the relevant artisanal market. "Likely though it therefore 
appears thatjourneymen will continue to carry Wanderbiicher," the legis- 
lators saw no need to require them to obtain special documents 
authorizing their travel as such: 

It would seem completely unjustified, given the general abolition of pass- 
port requirements, if one were to make exceptions that would disadvantage 
precisely those classes of travelers who have previously been most harassed 
by the constant police control of their travel documents, leaving entirely 
aside for the moment the effort in time and resources demanded of the 
authorities themselves in the face of the very large number of itinerant jour- 
neymen and other work-seekers, and which effort is out of all proportion to 
the usefulness of those efforts in the individual cases. 

Even if the underlying motivation was "Liberal" in the sense of creating 
the legal foundations of free-market capitalism, the legislators' explana- 
tion of their enterprise bespoke a "liberal," egalitarian intention in the 



area of freedom of movement that bore witness to the coming of that 
"equality" that Tocqueville had anticipated would spread across the 
world after his trip to America in the early decades of the nineteenth 
century. 73 As Tocqueville suggested, it had grown increasingly unaccept- 
able to subject the lower classes to special legal disabilities simply as a 
result of their social position. 

The bill's authors were particularly distressed at the possibility that 
the special restrictions of the 1865 passport law concerning "those seek- 
ing domestic service or [waged] work" should be extended to the entire 
Confederation. Still, if necessary, the authors of the law were prepared 
to accept that the exceptions to the general abolition of passport con- 
trols enunciated in 1865 could remain provisionally in force in the 
southern German states if that proved to be the price of an agreement 
on passport policy with them. In this respect, at least, the inhabitants of 
southern Germany who mocked the constitution of the North German 
Confederation appear to have underestimated the liberal impulses afoot 
in the Prussia of their day. 74 

At this point, Reichstag deputies were invited to submit proposals 
for changes to the bill before its actual discussion. The amendments 
tendered mainly concerned three issues: the wording of the guarantee 
that the authorities would still have the right to demand that people 
"legitimate themselves" and the question whether this authority was a 
proper subject of the passport law; the terms under which the govern- 
ment could reimpose passport requirements; and the precise nature of 
the authority of the municipalities to exclude or expel unwanted per- 
sons. With respect to this last issue, Reichstag representative von 
Kirchmann proposed that townships should have the right to exclude or 
expel their own members only on the basis of a specific legal authoriza- 
tion, or if they availed themselves of poor relief; all other rights of the 
municipalities were to be abolished. The socialist Wilhelm Liebknecht 
suggested an amendment to this amendment that would have struck the 
words "their own members." The point, of course, was not to penalize 
people for becoming poor, but to limit the power of the local commu- 
nity to exclude people, whether they were members of the municipality 
in question or not. 75 

The Reichstag debate over the law began on 30 September 1867. 76 
Dr Friedenthal, the bill's official rapporteur, opened the discussion by 
remarking that the purpose of the proposed law was to dispose of obso- 
lete legislation that was based on the notion "that removal from one's 
place of residence - that is, travel as such, [and] that taking up residence 
elsewhere are undertakings which, as a matter of public order, belong 
not in realm of the free decision of the individual, but are matters depen- 
dent upon an official authorization [emphasis in original] in the form of 



travel documents and residency cards, dependent upon unremitting 
police control, a shameful sort of police surveillance that must accom- 
pany the traveler without cease . . ." Friedenthal took it for granted that 
there could be "no differences of opinion regarding the need to dis- 
pose" of this sort of control, and that the debate could turn only on 
four issues: (1) whether the law provided sufficient guarantees for the 
freedom of movement; (2) the relation of the law to the right of the 
police to demand that persons "legitimate themselves," "irrespective of 
whether these persons are travelers or not [original italics]"; (3) the extent to 
which the law transforms the former obligation to carry a passport into a 
right to obtain one; and (4) the relation between this law for the entire 
Confederation and the laws of the individual states. While the represen- 
tatives to the Reichstag did raise a variety of objections to the proposed 
law, Friedenthal was basically correct: no one ever challenged the funda- 
mental aims of the law, and it was ultimately adopted in precisely the 
form in which it had first been submitted. 

Noting that the passport bill before the house constituted an improve- 
ment "in the direction of greater liberty" over the Passport Treaty of 1865, 
Friedenthal affirmed that the law did, indeed, represent an adequate 
guarantee of the individual's freedom of movement. He found the 
renewed guarantee of the police authority to demand that people identify 
themselves hardly in need of further justification; it simply went without 
saying that the state had to have some way of "embracing" those unknown 
to its agents. As for the third issue, that of the bill's creation of a right to a 
passport, Friedenthal found this a "particular advantage" of the law, a 
right "of the greatest value for the working classes." Finally, Friedenthal 
framed the matter of the relation of the confederal law to those of the 
individual states precisely in terms of the matter of a right to a passport. 
This right was limited only by "legal obstacles" to the issuance of a pass- 
port. The individual states would be free to determine what these might 
be, but "it is certainly desirable . . . that there be no room for doubt that it 
is not a matter of the whim of the authorities wherein consist the legal 
obstacles." Friedenthal further applauded the freedom of the various 
states to determine for themselves which officials would be authorized to 
issue passports, particularly including local officials closer to the needs 
and problems of passport applicants. Finally, he stressed the importance 
of making travel documents cheap and easily accessible to the working 
classes, which in turn would help prevent official abuse of the provision 
authorizing the police to check personal identities. 

In view of the bill's advantages for the working classes, a representa- 
tive from Dortmund named Dr Becker declared himself unwilling to 
postpone "for even a day more than is absolutely necessary" the adop- 
tion of the law as written. For 



this law transforms the worker's duty (Pflicht), when he no longer finds 
work in the place where he normally resides, to seek work elsewhere, into 
his right and his matter of honor. It is a horrible contradiction in the exist- 
ing legislation that the worker is threatened with disadvantages for his 
unemployment and neediness, and, when he seeks work, is subjected to a 
scrupulous police surveillance which, if he ignores it, puts him in danger 
of being punished as a vagabond and of suffering damage to his property, 
his honor, and his self-esteem. 

Despite all the lofty talk about the worker's "honor," one senses the 
effusions of a would-be employer of cheap labor power behind Becker's 
enthusiasm for the passport law. It is not clear whether the repeated 
references to a male worker were simply a function of German grammar, 
in which the pronoun for the worker ( der Arbeiter) is necessarily trans- 
formed into a "he" (er), or whether Becker was simply blind to the 
gender implications of the bill. Yet the vast majority of those seeking 
domestic service (Dienst, as opposed to Arbeit) - the other group from 
whom restrictions were to be lifted - were surely women. 77 In all events, 
Becker was eager to get his fellow parliamentarians to adopt the new 
passport law in order to dispense with the bureaucratic arbitrariness 
under which the laboring masses suffered: "Gentlemen, here we are 
beginning to sweep out a great Augeas's stable of police ordinances." 

This the Reichstag proceeded to do after only relatively minor spar- 
ring. One of the highlights of the debate came when the Marxian 
socialist, Wilhelm Liebknecht, who rose to defend a proposed ban on 
expulsions from Germany, whether the person concerned was German 
or foreign. 78 In a role that would become common among socialists, 
Liebknecht sought to defend general human rights against the rights 
granted by nation-states only to their own subjects. He began by chiding 
the authoritarian practice whereby Prussia until that time had felt free 
to expel any non-Prussian German, without the need to justify that 
action on legal grounds. If the Reichstag did not explicitly abolish this 
practice, Liebknecht continued, 

we will be giving the police the right over a larger area . . . over the territory 
of the entire North German Confederation, to expel as "foreigners" those 
Germans who are not subjects of the North German Confederation - such 
as Austrian Germans, who despite the terms of the Peace of Nikolsburg [i.e., 
the Prague Treaty that ended the war with Austria after the battle of 
Koniggratz (1866)] still belong to Germany, Wurttemberger, Badenese, etc. 
I think that those gentlemen who call themselves the national party par excel- 
lence will not object if those Germans who are subjects of German states but 
not of the North German Confederation are assigned the same rights as 
those of the North German Confederation. Indeed, it is necessary to 
expand this right even further. A right that does not exist for all is no right 
. . . Gentlemen, it is necessary for us to proceed in the same fashion that 
England, that free country, has already taken, and to extend to foreigners 



the same right that exists for Englishmen. There is no such thing as police 
expulsion in England; the government there does not have the right to 
deny someone their place of residence . . . Gentlemen, it is necessary that 
that be introduced here as well, that the police system, whose extensive 
development in the state of Prussia has done more to undermine German 
unity than any other institution - a system that has facilitated the politics of 
blood and iron to which we owe the disastrous war of last year, to which we 
owe the fact that Germany is now so riven and so powerless externally. 

At this point in Liebknecht's stirring critique, the chamber grew restive. 
The president of the assembly moved to close debate on the paragraph, 
but this failed to carry. 

Then Eduard Lasker, a member of the National Liberal party who was 
one of the outstanding parliamentarians of the era as well as "a constant 
thorn in [Bismarck's] side," 79 rose to support Liebknecht's position. 
Lasker admonished the Reichstag that "it is a barbarity to make a distinc- 
tion between foreigners and the indigenous (Einheimischen) in the right 
to hospitable residence ( in dent gastlichen Rechte des Aufenthalts) . Not only 
every German, but every human being has the right not to be chased 
away like a dog." Because the representatives of the Prussian govern- 
ment had repeatedly indicated that they were opposed to the practice of 
police expulsions, Lasker said, he felt confident that the government 
would endorse his view of these matters. Yet Liebknecht's amendment 
failed along with the one to which it was attached. Ultimately, the law 
was adopted essentially as originally proposed. 80 

As a result, the North German Confederation had moved to decrimi- 
nalize travel - to remove from that act the suspicion and police 
surveillance that had previously attended it, especially for the lower 
classes. By abolishing passport controls and simultaneously reaffirming 
the right of the state authorities to be in a position to embrace all persons, 
whether travelers or not, movement as such now came to be legally 
regarded as a normal aspect of daily life. The law powerfully promoted the 
shift from documentary controls on movement to documentary substanti- 
ation of identity that would soon gain ground across Europe, but without 
yet privileging nationals over non-nationals with respect to who was sub- 
ject to these regulations. In the discussion about the clause in the law 
reasserting the state's authority to demand that people "legitimate them- 
selves," Count zu Eulenburg, later to be Minister of the Interior in the 
Empire, summarized the matter succincdy: "The purpose of this para- 
graph is to put travelers on an equal legal footing with all other citizens." 81 


The Prussian-German ancien regimewas collapsing fast. Freedom to travel, 
to move about unhindered and without explicit state authorization, had 



been established as the law of the land. The Confederation deepened its 
commitment to such liberty only three weeks later when the Reichstag 
adopted a law guaranteeing freedom of setdement (Freiziigigkeit) to its 
subjects. 82 The law provided for the right to setde and acquire property 
anywhere a person wished in the territory constituting the Confederation, 
irrespective of religion or lack of previous municipal or state membership, 
without being subjected to special disabilities by the authorities in either 
their place of origin or their new residence. Moreover, subjects of the 
Confederation were to be at liberty to practice any trade, whether seden- 
tary or itinerant, under the same conditions as those to which the 
indigenous residents were subject. 

Just as important as these measures was the fact that the rights of 
municipalities to deny residency to persons were almost entirely abol- 
ished. The law shifted this authority "outward" to the level of the 
constituent states of the Confederation, which were free to exclude per- 
sons - such as convicted criminals, vagabonds, and beggars - at their 
borders. Building on the earlier Prussian prohibition on the right of the 
municipalities to refuse entry to those they feared might, at some later 
date, become poor, municipalities throughout the Confederation were 
now left with the authority to exclude only the currently poor - and the 
law mandated that states could limit even this authority if they chose to 
do so. The connection in these laws between freedom of movement and 
the elimination of local restrictions on access to poor relief suggests that 
the fabled Bismarckian social insurance legislation of the late 1870s had 
as much to do with the creation of a unified national labor market as 
with efforts to take the wind out of the sails of a rapidly maturing social- 
ist labor movement. 

Indeed, recent research has demonstrated persuasively that "the 
working class was a minor player in the creation of the welfare state" in 
Germany. 83 This judgment seems copiously confirmed by the debate 
over the 1867 Passport Law, through which the German political elite 
"liberated" workers in search of work "in their own interest," rather than 
in response to their demands. Even though freedom of movement was 
intrinsically connected to the eventual creation of the German national 
welfare state, it also went hand in hand with other liberal freedoms such 
as the destruction of guilds and the corresponding freedom of entry 
into all occupations (Gewerbefreiheit) , a connection that contributed to 
the hostility of artisans toward liberalism and to their later support for 
reactionary anti-capitalist movements. 84 

The law on passports adopted by the North German Confederation 
in 1867 - which was crucially bound up with broader Prussian-led efforts 
to institute the legal preconditions for industrial capitalism in Germany, 
especially including a free market in labor - came at a time when fears of 



the working class were comparatively mild. Radicalism had been deci- 
mated after 1848, and despite Tocqueville's prescient warnings about 
the rising political salience of the "social question," 85 socialism as an 
organized movement remained in its infancy. 86 Despite the lingering 
fears of revolution that hung in the air even after 1848 had been 
reduced to a memory, these factors helped to provide a "window of 
opportunity" through which the remarkably liberal 1867 law slipped. As 
the socialist movement gathered force, however, the government in 
1878 - the same year as the so-called "socialist law" that banned socialist 
parties - took advantage of the provision for reimposing passport 
requirements when public order was threatened, and required that all 
"outsiders" (Fremde) and newly arrived persons in the Imperial capital be 
equipped with a passport or "pass card" "until further notice." 87 

It is also worth emphasizing that the passport policy adopted in 1867 
by the Prussian-led North German Confederation was considerably 
more progressive than the 1865 treaty between Saxony, Bavaria, 
Hamburg, and Wurttemberg on which it largely was based. The 1867 
passport law sharply differed from the treaty in ways that reflected the 
Prussian state's stronger commitment to economic liberalism. In view of 
Prussia's fabled reputation for persistendy reactionary political and eco- 
nomic attitudes, this result may surprise. In fact, however, this finding is 
consistent with recent research that has demonstrated persuasively that 
the political and economic impulses of the Prussian state during this 
period were deeply "bourgeois" - even if those impulses were articulated 
by Junker aristocrats rather than card-carrying members of the middle 
classes. 88 The removal of passport restrictions on movement, and its 
contribution to the creation of a larger space in which a common citi- 
zenship held sway, was in all events part of that "revolution from above" 
that "cumulatively established the conditions of possibility for the devel- 
opment of industrial capitalism" in Germany. 89 

Yet it must always be borne in mind that the "unification of Germany" 
and the creation of a Second Empire that took place under Bismarck's 
tutelage did not result in the creation of a "German nation-state" if that 
is to mean a state exclusively "of and for" all Germans. The German 
Kaiserreich was both too small and too large to fill that bill. As a result of 
the Prussian conflict with Austria that had come to a head at the Battle 
of Koniggratz (1866), Bismarck settled for a "little-German solution" 
(kleindeutsche Losung) to the problem of territorial unification - a solu- 
tion that excluded those parts of Austria that had belonged to the first 
(Holy Roman) Empire, but included Prussian acquisitions in Poland 
that had never been part of that earlier entity. From the perspective of 
the territory it did include, the Empire held a variety of ethnic minori- 



ties, such as Poles, Danes, Sorbs, and Alsatians, who were not "German" 
by most people's reckoning, perhaps least of all their own. 

Moreover, the state itself lacked the centralized, uniform administra- 
tive structure that the French revolutionaries had built, completing the 
work of the ancien regime. The federated states retained substantial 
autonomy in a variety of matters, even including the use of military 
force. Municipalities, moreover, maintained significant independence 
in a number of policy areas, including social policy. These qualifications, 
however, have hardly inhibited both contemporaries and subsequent 
commentators from speaking of the Second Empire as the achievement 
(however "belated") of the "German national state," thus contributing 
to the notion that such a thing exists - what Steinmetz has suggestively 
referred to as "the nation-state effect." 90 

The "long nineteenth century" bore witness to an increasing freedom of 
movement for the lower orders of society, who were liberated from the 
feudal shackles that had once bound them to their birthplaces. The 
expansion of legal mobility for the popular classes generated tension in 
arrangements for poor relief that presumed domicile as the foundation 
of access to benefits, provoking the need to codify the criteria for 
belonging. In order to develop national markets, German economic 
and political elites strove to expand the limits of citizenship to the 
"national" level. This process presupposed the abrogation of local com- 
munity rights to restrict the entry of "co-nationals" that had been rooted 
in their traditional obligations to provide poor relief. At the same time, 
it entailed a democratization of legal standing, so that the "internal 
foreign nation" comprising the lower classes had to be elevated to at 
least a legal par with their social "betters." 

Nonetheless, developments in Germany had signaled a broader 
European shift toward greater freedom of entry and exit, even for 
foreigners. Under the influence of an "overwhelming consensus" during 
the 1860s and early 1870s that economic liberalism was the surest recipe 
for prosperity, as Hobsbawm has put it, "the remaining institutional 
barriers to the free movement of the factors of production, to free enter- 
prise and to anything which could conceivably hamper its profitable 
operation, fell before a world-wide onslaught." 91 In England, the passport 
provisions of the 1836 Aliens Restriction Act went largely unregarded 
until the Aliens Act of 1905 revived them. Indeed, Lord Granville wrote 
in 1872 that "by the existing law of Great Britain all foreigners have the 
unrestricted right of entrance into and residence in this country," 92 
substantiating the view of the situation in England offered by Wilhelm 
Liebknecht during the Reichstag debate over the 1867 passport law. 



Similarly, in France, with the exception of the period of the Paris 
Commune, the once-severe passport controls on internal movement had 
become "entombed in desuetude," although the persistence of the livret 
until the end of the nineteenth century surely discriminated against 
the movements of many a humble work-seeker. 93 The enforcement of 
passport controls on those entering and exiting the country had similarly 
been allowed to lapse, not to be rejuvenated until the Great War. 94 

These developments came together under the ideological aegis of 
economic liberalism, which however held no strong brief for the sanctity 
of national borders. The result of this extraordinary conjuncture was 
that passport requirements fell away throughout Western Europe, 
useless paper barriers to a world in prosperous motion. In the course of 
defending the widening right to freedom of movement in nineteenth- 
century Europe, an Italian legal commentator, Giovanni Bolis, wrote in 
1871 that "the surest thermometer of the freedom of a people is to be 
found in an examination of its legislation concerning passports." Bolis 
strongly advocated the elimination of international passports "not 
merely as a homage to the civility of the times . . . but as a measure of 
great importance for economic relations, favoring commerce, industry, 
and progress, facilitating the relations among the various countries, and 
liberating travelers from harassment and hindrances." 95 Bolis's remarks 
constitute a quintessential statement of the liberal attitude toward free- 
dom of movement that came to prevail in Europe around this time. 

Yet states' insistence that they be able to embrace mobile populations 
resulted in a heightened preoccupation with identification documents 
that allowed governments and police forces to establish who (and 
"what") a person was when they wished to do so. With democratization, 
identification of all became more important than controlling move- 
ments as such. 




Despite the generally liberal attitude toward freedom of movement that 
carried the day in Europe during the late nineteenth century, govern- 
ments became increasingly oriented to making distinctions between 
their own citizens/subjects and others, a distinction that could be made 
only on the basis of documents. At first this concern was typically 
directed at specific groups of undesirable outsiders, but it gradually 
spread and became a general trait of ever more socially integrated 
"national" societies. Thus despite the fact that the period from the late 
nineteenth century until the First World War has been frequently viewed 
as an unexampled era of free movement in the modern age, the period 
also saw the spread of various kinds of identification documents that 
sharpened the line between national and alien and thereby contributed 
to what has aptly been called the "naturalization of nativism." 1 

In the United States, for example, which had been more or less open 
to free movement for the white population, the development of pass- 
ports and identification documents grew dramatically toward the end of 
the nineteenth century. As elsewhere, the ultimate result would be to 
promote the institutionalization of documentary controls designed to 
regulate movement and to distinguish clearly between nationals and 
others. As the preferred destination of enormous numbers of migrants 
from around the world during this period, the posture of the United 
States played a crucial role in the shift toward more rigorous and 
bureaucratic mechanisms for regulating movement. 


The United States' experience with passports, and with immigration 
controls more generally, reflected the weak, diffuse character of the 



American state itself before the late nineteenth century. There has never 
been much concern about the issue of emigration from the United 
States, as there had been from mercantilist European countries. And 
although the opposition to immigration in nineteenth-century America 
was greater than is widely believed, restraints on entry into the United 
States during most of the century tended to be haphazard and indirect. 
The Alien Act of 1798, the first serious breach in the policy of openness 
to European immigrants, aimed to complicate the settlement of foreign 
radicals on American soil. Arising in the context of the French 
Revolution and its aftershocks, the Act was a response to fears of alien 
subversion - especially from French and Irish sources - that drew its 
inspiration from the first Aliens Bill in England in 1793. 2 Yet the law had 
little impact on the course of immigration to the United States. 

The first effort to deal with immigration as a national concern in the 
United States emerged in 1819, when Congress adopted legislation 
(modeled on the British Passenger Acts) to restrict the number of per- 
sons that could be carried in transatlantic passage. Although the backers 
of the measure indicated that their purpose was to improve overcrowded 
conditions on the passenger ships, the law had restrictive effects that 
may have been unintentional but not necessarily undesirable. Perhaps 
more important in the long run, at the same time that the federal gov- 
ernment assumed greater responsibility for supervising the commerce 
in passengers, it also instituted its first official statistics on immigration. 
As Zolberg has pointed out, the advent of federal immigration record- 
keeping "constituted both a symbolic extension of the domain of state 
concern and a foundation for the potential exercise of further regula- 
tion when circumstances changed." 3 The law thus laid some of the 
essential early groundwork for the bureaucratic administration of immi- 
gration regulation in the United States. The ability of the state to count 
would-be immigrants would prove to be a critical feature of its capacity 
to restrict their entry, especially when immigrants' national origins came 
to play a key role in determining their eligibility for admission. 

Still, before the Civil War much of the regulation of immigration 
remained within the purview of the individual states of the Union. In 
addition to the federal limitations on passenger numbers relative to 
deck space on boats, a number of states imposed requirements that ship- 
masters and ship owners post bonds against the possibility that their 
passengers would fall on the public purse after their arrival. By driving 
up the costs of passage, these measures impinged upon the business of 
those involved in passenger-carrying enterprises, leading shippers to 
challenge these laws in the courts as a restraint of trade. In response to 
these legal challenges, in which ship owners insisted that they should 
not be forced to assume responsibility for their human cargo, "the 



Supreme Court in 1837 upheld state provisions requiring the master of 
a ship to submit a detailed report on the passengers, ruling that the 
states had a right to know who was coming within their boundaries." 4 In 
the process, the Court also effectively endorsed the continued primacy 
of the states over the federal government in determining immigration 
laws. A decade later, however, the Supreme Court reversed this holding 
in the 1848 Passenger Cases, in which it found that states' head taxes on 
passengers was an unconstitutional infringement on the federal prerog- 
ative of regulating foreign commerce. 5 

The federal government further strengthened its jurisdiction over 
migration matters in 1856, when Congress asserted the exclusive right to 
issue passports and mandated that they should be issued only to American 
citizens. Before that time, no federal statute governed the granting of 
passports. While the Department of State typically assumed this responsi- 
bility, the individual states and even municipalities had frequently 
distributed them as well. Despite the issuance of Department of State cir- 
culars informing applicants that passports issued by lower-level authorities 
would not be recognized by foreign governments, the lack of any legal 
provision for the granting of passports led to "impositions . . . upon the 
illiterate and unwary by the fabrication of worthless passports." 6 

The issuance of passports — essentially, documents attesting citizen- 
ship - by state and local authorities before 1856 reflects the accuracy of 
the holding that, during the antebellum period, the central government 
of the United States had "only a token administrative presence in most 
of the nation and [its] sovereignty was interpreted by the central admin- 
istration as contingent on the consent of the individual states." 7 The law 
mandating exclusive federal control over the issuance of passports was 
adopted amid increasingly grave sectional tensions that led to intensi- 
fied efforts to establish the dominance of central government authority. 8 
While the assertion of that control may have suggested growing state 
coherence, however, the failure of North and South to reconcile their 
respective social systems soon plunged the United States into its bloodi- 
est and most destructive conflagration. 

The Civil War was a war of political and economic unification as well as 
a "war to save the Union" (Lincoln), 9 and it is thus not entirely surprising 
to find that developments analogous to those afoot in Germany were tak- 
ing place almost simultaneously in the Reconstruction-era United States. A 
year after the North German Confederation moved to "decriminalize 
travel" and create a more coherent space of free movement within its bor- 
ders, an 1868 decision of the US Supreme Court struck down a Nevada tax 
on every person leaving the state by means of public transportation. The 
justices' ruling derived from the argument that the right to travel from 
state to state was a right of national citizenship 10 - a status just then being 



conferred upon the country's former slave population by the Fourteenth 
Amendment. The Supreme Court's holding helped insure the right of 
Americans to move freely throughout the country. Within only a decade 
or so after the Supreme Court widened the basis of American citizenship 
and affirmed that that status afforded its bearers freedom of movement 
across US territory, however, the government would begin to restrict free 
access to the country to many who arrived on its shores - a process that 
coincided loosely with the "closing of the frontier." 11 

After the Civil War, business elements hungry for labor power devel- 
oped a growing appetite for overseas sources of labor, in part to combat 
strikes staged by burgeoning trade unions. The unions were dominated 
by whites who represented the dominant Anglo-German as well as Irish 
stock, and sought to protect the interests of these white ethnic workers. 
Employers on the West Coast, for their part, increasingly warmed to the 
prospect of recruiting non-whites who were generally thought to be able 
to survive on less than native white workers. As the war came to an end, 
European immigration exploded, reaching its nineteenth-century 
zenith in 1882 as transportation improved and transatlantic passage 
became cheaper. 12 Yet immigrants from a less familiar source began to 
arrive in growing numbers on the newly conquered Western flank of the 
spreading American republic, provoking the ire of various native whites. 


Around the time of the Civil War, political developments and a series of 
violent upheavals in China had made it both more appealing and more 
possible to leave that country, developments that fueled interest in emi- 
gration to the western United States. Against this background the 
United States and the Chinese imperial government concluded the 
Burlingame Treaty of 1868, under which the Chinese were permitted to 
immigrate freely into the country without, however, any corresponding 
right to become naturalized American citizens. Because they were 
barred from inclusion in the US body politic, the Chinese admitted 
under the Treaty were, in effect, early versions of what came to be known 
as "guestworkers" during the post-Second World War era in Europe. Yet 
despite the legal disabilities involved, Chinese streamed into the country 
in substantial numbers in the ensuing years. 13 

Within a mere fifteen years, however, the stance of the American gov- 
ernment toward Chinese immigration - and indeed toward immigration 
generally - would begin to shift dramatically. In 1880, the Chinese and 
American governments signed another treaty granting the United States 
the right to limit the entry of Chinese whenever such immigration 
"affects or threatens to affect" American interests. The United States 



thus reversed the terms of a treaty allowing the untrammeled influx of 
Chinese labor that it had so eagerly sought little more than a decade 
before. Two years later, the United States adopted the first of the 
Chinese Exclusion Acts, barring the importation of Chinese contract 
labor for ten years. Congress subsequently renewed the law several times 
and extended it to other Asian groups; the statutory exclusion of the 
Chinese only came to an end with the American extension of a wartime 
courtesy to its Chinese ally during the Second World War. 14 

The State Department objected to the Chinese exclusion law as an 
abrogation of the Burlingame Treaty and as an irritant in Chinese- 
American affairs. Such protests on the part of ministries of foreign rela- 
tions were, in fact, typical during this period, because anti-immigrant 
measures undermined established notions of reciprocity among nations 
and of the treatment that states expected for their nationals abroad. 15 
With rising anti-Chinese violence in the Western United States, however, 
the State Department reversed its position with the reasoning "that vio- 
lating the [Burlingame] treaty would offend China less than allowing its 
subjects to be lynched." In the same year, the US government adopted 
the Immigration Act of 1882, which extended earlier state laws to 
exclude convicts, lunatics, idiots, and persons likely to become public 
charges. 16 While the prohibition on the entry of these groups was any- 
thing but novel, the federal effort to restrict a particular racial/national 
group was a notable departure: "In making a distinction based on race 
and nationality, the act augured a significant new era in federal legisla- 
tion and American attitudes toward immigrants." 17 

Here I want to focus on the administrative implementation of the 
Chinese Exclusion Act, for it constituted the first serious attempt in 
American history specifically to exclude members of a particular group 
whose relevant characteristics were knowable only on the basis of docu- 
ments. 18 In order to make sense of the various documentary requirements 
associated with the enforcement of the exclusion law, it must be borne in 
mind that the 1882 law barred only newly entering laborers; those who 
had entered the US at least ninety days before the Act took effect were per- 
mitted to remain. In addition, while the Chinese were not allowed to 
naturalize, court decisions had recognized as American citizens those who 
were born on US soil. 19 Moreover, the Act exempted other groups such as 
merchants, teachers, students, and travelers. Because the Chinese had pre- 
viously been welcomed into the United States and many were in the 
country legally, the new law made it critical that they be able to establish 
that they had a right to remain in the United States or to reenter if they left 
- conditions that could only be met by recourse to documents. In order to 
sort out the eligibles from the ineligibles, the measure thus mandated "an 
elaborate system of registration, certification and identification." 20 



First among these provisions was that Chinese laborers legitimately in 
the United States under the terms of the Act who wished to leave the 
country were required to obtain a certificate of identification - also 
known as a "return certificate" - from the collector of the port prior to 
their departure. The collectors of the ports, not immigration officers per 
se, were thus authorized to distribute the document that established 
Chinese residents' right to reenter the country, and to determine 
whether any Chinese were entering the country legally under the terms 
of the law: in short, they assumed the duties of immigration inspectors. 
In addition, all Chinese from the exempt categories, other than diplo- 
matic personnel, were required to have in their possession a certificate 
from the Chinese government upon entering the country - a "Canton" 
or Section Six certificate, which derived its name from the relevant 
provision in the 1882 law. The various Chinese Exclusion Acts did not 
specify whether women and children were admissible. Some judges held 
that their status was determined by their own qualifications, so that they 
were required to have a Section Six certificate of their own, whereas 
other judges maintained that the status of women and children followed 
that of the husband or father. The dispute was not finally resolved until 
1900, when the Supreme Court upheld the latter position, ascribing to 
the wives and children of Chinese men the same immigration status as 
the husband/father. When the Chinese challenged the documentary 
requirements imposed upon them, the ensuing disputes were settled in 
the courts - often in favor of the Chinese rather than the customs offi- 
cials who enforced the law, a fact that tended to mitigate its severity. 21 

Chinese objections to the certificate requirements notwithstanding, 
California politicians insisted that the administration of the Exclusion 
Act was having all the inhibitory power of a large-gauge sieve and 
demanded a more vigorous enforcement of its provisions. These 
demands resulted in the passage in 1884 of an amendment that tight- 
ened the documentary requirements imposed upon the Chinese. In an 
effort to preclude the frequent claims of laborers that they had left the 
country before the advent of the "return certificates," the new law 
mandated an end to exceptions concerning the stricture that all return- 
ing laborers originally in the country legitimately had to have such a 
certificate or be denied reentry. When the Chinese challenged this 
clause, however, the Supreme Court ruled that laborers should be 
readmitted who could prove by means other than the certificate of iden- 
tification that they resided in the United States lawfully under the terms 
of the Act. 

In addition to the tighter restrictions on laborers, the 1884 law also 
sought to firm up the definition of and the documentary controls on 
exempt categories of Chinese: 



[T]he word 'merchant' was defined to exclude hucksters, peddlers, and 
fishermen engaged in drying and shipping fish; the traveler's certificate 
must state where he proposed to travel and his financial standing; the cer- 
tificates of identification from the Chinese Government must be verified 
as to facts and visaed by the United States diplomatic officer at the port of 
departure, [in order] to be prima facie evidence of right of re-entry . . , 22 

This last procedure constituted an early version of that system of 
"remote control" - involving passports and visas stamped at the emi- 
grants' point of departure by consular officials of the destination 
country - that Aristide Zolberg has appropriately characterized as a deci- 
sive feature of immigration regulation after the Great War. For all 
Zolberg's perspicacity about the dynamics of Chinese exclusion and the 
development of "remote border control" during the 1920s, however, he 
overlooks the fact that the latter was first experimented with in the effort 
to exclude the Chinese, not Europeans - the main target after the First 
World War. 

Despite the greater stringency of documentary requirements and 
despite official findings that the exclusion law had led to a significant 
drop in the number of Chinese in the United States, further efforts to 
keep them out arose in the late 1880s. On 13 September 1888 Congress 
adopted a law denying reentry into the country of Chinese laborers who 
had returned to visit China unless they had a wife, child, or parent in the 
United States, or owned at least $1000 of property. Shortly thereafter, 
when a project to draft a new treaty relating to Chinese immigration 
floundered, the Scott Act excluded any Chinese laborer then outside 
the United States who had not returned to the country before the 
passage of the Act, prohibited the issuance of any more certificates 
under the terms of the 1882 law, and voided all those previously issued. 
Thus no Chinese laborer who left the United States would have the right 
to return any longer, and some 20 000 certificates guaranteeing Chinese 
reentry into the US were nullified. Net arrivals of Chinese fell sharply 
during the following year. 23 

The Chinese quickly mounted legal challenges to these restrictions, 
however. Just one week after the passage of the Scott Act, a Chinese 
laborer named Chae Chan Ping returned to San Francisco from a visit to 
China and requested reentry on presentation of his certificate of identifi- 
cation. In consequence of the new law, he was refused admission into the 
country. Chae Chan Ping challenged the constitutionality of the law, 
asserting that Congress had no authority to exclude aliens. The case went 
all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld the constitutionality of 
the Act, though not on the customary grounds that Congress had the 
authority to regulate foreign commerce. Instead, the Court held that the 
Constitution granted Congress a variety of powers that made it sovereign 



in the land, and "any independent nation must have 'jurisdiction over its 
own territory,' including the power to exclude aliens, if it were to be truly 
sovereign." 24 This holding contrasted sharply with Lord Granville's view, 
stated only fifteen years earlier, that aliens were free to enter the United 
Kingdom at will, as well as with the general climate of relatively free 
movement that had taken hold in Europe during this period. 

The severe strictures of the Scott Act notwithstanding, agitation 
against the Chinese - especially among politicians from the Pacific coast 
states - continued unabated. The exclusionists complained that the 
appropriations and machinery for identifying and deporting Chinese 
were inadequate, and during the run-up to the 1892 presidential 
election California Congressman Thomas Geary proposed a new law 
designed to strengthen the measures precluding or eliminating the 
Chinese from American society. Among the provisions of his proposed 
law was one that required Chinese residents to register themselves and 
to obtain an identification certificate including a photograph to forestall 
misuse and falsification. As ultimately adopted, the law called for all 
Chinese laborers to obtain certificates within one year, and, if arrested, 
imposed upon the Chinese themselves the burden of demonstrating 
their legitimate presence in the country. 

The Chinese Minister in Washington and the Consul-General in San 
Francisco, as well as Chinese representatives in Peking, protested vehe- 
mendy against the law. These objections were joined by those of the 
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in San Francisco - perhaps 
better known as the Chinese Six Companies - the major organization rep- 
resenting the interests of Chinese in the United States, which held that 
the Act was unconstitutional and advised the Chinese not to comply with 
its registration provisions. As the period within which registration was to 
have been completed approached its close, Representative McCreary of 
Kentucky noted that so far only 13 242 out of 106 668 Chinese had actu- 
ally registered, and proposed an extension of the registration period. 
Defending his bill, Congressman Geary replied that "it was impossible to 
identify Chinamen," and California Senator White insisted that the 
Chinese had to be photographed as well as registered. Their California 
colleague, Representative Maguire, said the Geary law was "not a deporta- 
tion but a registration law, merely a passport system . . ."To these sorts of 
objections McCreary responded that it was unnecessary further to violate 
the treaty with China by requiring the Chinese "to be tagged, marked, and 

In the end, however, the registration system was adopted largely as orig- 
inally proposed, and the federal government expanded the facilities for 
registration and sent officers directly to encampments of Chinese to expe- 
dite the process. Mary Coolidge, a thoughtful and diligent early student of 



Chinese immigration to the United States, concluded: "Thus, at last, was 
set in operation at great expense, a system of registration which the offi- 
cials in charge of the execution of every act since 1882, had declared to be 
indispensable to effective administration" of Chinese exclusion. 25 Indeed, 
the various identification certificates inspired by the exclusion laws, which 
functioned as the equivalent of passports for those wishing to gain entry 
into the United States during the period in which the exclusion laws were 
in effect, continued to play an important role in the administration of 
Chinese exclusion for years to come. 


During the same period when the law had come to impose strict docu- 
mentary surveillance on the Chinese in response to the wishes of 
political interests in the Western states of the country, the regulation of 
immigration was becoming more and more clearly understood as a man- 
date of the federal government in the United States. Hearings by joint 
congressional committees to determine the goals of US immigration 
policy had led to recommendations aiming "not to restrict immigration, 
but to sift it, to separate the desirable from the undesirable immigrants, 
and to permit only those to land on our shores who have certain physical 
and moral qualities." 26 In pursuit of this objective, immigration regula- 
tion came to focus on those who might be a burden on the public purse 
and those regarded as "unassimilable" or otherwise unworthy of inclu- 
sion in the American civic body. 

Against this background, Congress adopted the Immigration Act 
of 1891, which placed the regulation of immigration under the authority 
of the Secretary of the Treasury, created a new Superintendent of 
Immigration within the Treasury Department, strengthened the 
enforcement provisions of earlier laws, and installed twenty-four border 
inspection stations. All of these measures contributed to the bureau- 
cratic institutionalization of immigration control, which for the first 
time had become national in character as a consequence of this legisla- 
tion. Yet for the time being, Chinese immigration continued to be 
regulated by the Exclusion Acts, whereas that from Europe was gov- 
erned by the Superintendent of Immigration - a fact that, ironically, 
allowed the Chinese more leeway to challenge their treatment in the 
courts. 27 

In keeping with the recommendations of the congressional inquiries 
into the aims of American immigration policy, the administrative struc- 
tures called forth by the 1891 law were designed to enable the 
government to distinguish between those who were thought to be good 



candidates for American citizenship, and those who were not. These pri- 
orities promoted a process whereby all immigration would be 
administered by the same bureaucracy (even if different groups of poten- 
tial immigrants were subjected to different policies). With the increasing 
prevalence of eugenics and other race-conscious approaches to popula- 
tion management, the ranks of those held to be unworthy of admission 
into or citizenship in the United States expanded beyond the Chinese to 
include a variety of groups regarded as impure, unclean, idiotic, non- 
white, or incapable of understanding the principles of republicanism. 
The proliferation of the categories of excludables pushed in the direction 
of a more uniform administration of immigration control, and in the 
early 1900s the separate administration of Asian and European immi- 
grant streams disappeared as the drift toward the "nationalization" of 
immigration regulation became consolidated institutionally. 

In 1903, the work of the Commissioner General of Immigration in 
the Treasury Department was transferred to a full-fledged Bureau of 
Immigration in the newly created Department of Commerce and Labor, 
and Chinese immigration fell under its purview along with that of 
Europeans. The exclusion of the Chinese was rendered permanent in 
1904, a harbinger of things to come for other Asian and European 
national groups - as long as the necessary documents could be created 
and imposed. In 1907, the "Gentlemen's Agreement" closed off the 
access of Japanese laborers to the United States when the Japanese gov- 
ernment agreed to stop issuing them passports, a policy later extended 
to Japanese women who were to travel to the United States as "picture 
brides" of future husbands whom they knew only as a photograph. The 
situation was more complicated with Filipinos, subjects but not citizens 
of the United States after acquisition of the islands from Spain. As US 
"nationals" - persons "owing allegiance, whether citizens or not, to the 
United States" - they could not be subjected to restrictive immigration 
laws. Ironically, however, the acquisition of overseas possessions such as 
the Philippines forced the US government to expand access to passports 
to a variety of non-citizen "nationals," reversing the general trend toward 
distribution of those documents exclusively to citizens. 28 

Along with the growing worries about the racially inferior, concerns 
also spread that various categories of persons would render the 
American stock less wholesome in political, moral, or medical terms. 
The latter fear soon helped give birth to the Public Health Service and 
to legislation excluding those with contagious illnesses. US restrictions 
on the admission of the medically dubious stimulated the development 
overseas of both governmental and steamship company efforts to insure 
that would-be emigrants would pass muster when they arrived in 
American ports. 29 Gradually, many of the activities associated with US 



immigrant inspection would be transferred abroad, as control of immi- 
gration moved from the territorial borders of the United States to the 
emigrant-sending countries themselves - a development that would dra- 
matically enhance the capacity of states to restrict the influx of outsiders. 


The installation of the medical inspection facilities of one country on 
the territory of another was just one example of the way in which any 
strong conception of state sovereignty had to be modified in the course 
of achieving states' monopolization of the legitimate means of move- 
ment. Just as there were often "external" determinants of emigrant 
health inspection, and indeed of citizenship laws that might be thought 
to be at the very heart of state sovereignty, 30 passport requirements 
might be imposed in one state as a result of the restrictions laid down by 
another. Such was the case with the Italian passport law of 1901. 

The passport law of 1901, which remained the major legislation on 
passports until 1967, appeared to be a departure from the widespread 
warm feelings toward the freedom of movement in Europe at that time. 
Certainly its detractors regarded its requirement that transoceanic trav- 
elers be in possession of a passport before purchasing their steamer 
tickets as the reintroduction of a noxious restraint on exit. The provision 
smacked of supposedly outmoded restraints on emigration typical of the 
pre-liberal period, and liberal and leftist parliamentarians strongly 
opposed it. The opponents of the law presumably knew that big 
landowners tended to oppose emigration because they feared that 
depopulation would drive up the wages they had to pay. 31 

In fact, however, the legislation arose not from an urge to choke off 
exit, but rather from a desire to insure that Italian emigrants would not 
be denied entry into American ports (North and South, though princi- 
pally the former). This intention could not have been made clearer than 
by the decree's requirement that passports be delivered within twenty- 
four hours of a legitimate request, a provision reiterated in the law on 
emigration adopted the same day. This "epoch-making" law sought to 
provide protection for emigrants from the various commercial interests 
involved in the emigrant trade, and enhanced the role of the state in 
migration processes by creating a General Commission for Emigration 
intended to guide outflows and offer assistance to those departing. 32 
The Italian state strode vigorously toward supervision of migration mat- 
ters during this period, though their chief concern was with facilitating 
emigration, not restricting immigration. 

Because of its potential impact on the fate of the much-discussed 
Italian emigration, the passport law provoked sharp controversy in 



Parliament. The law's backers argued that too many Italian would-be 
emigrants had been turned back in the preceding years upon their 
arrival on American shores. In the debate on the proposed legislation, 
one supporter of the bill, Eugenio Valli, told the chamber that more 
than 1200 Italian emigrants had been refused entry into American ports 
during 1899-1900. In order to forestall repetition of these denials, Valli 
urged the house to mandate that, in addition to a passport, departing 
emigrants be required to have a medical certificate attesting to their 
state of health. "In the United States," Valli explained, "if they believe or 
suspect that there is a danger that the Italian emigrant ... is likely to 
become a public charge, they will throw him out with the most remorse- 
less brutality." 33 Presumably these unsuccessful emigres had not been 
inspected by American examiners before their departure. 

According to other supporters of the passport requirement for 
transatlantic migrants, the immigration officials on the other side of the 
ocean were more interested in the passport as a testament of the 
bearer's "good conduct" than in the migrant's physical condition. As 
one leading proponent put it, possession of this implicit seal of approval 
of the sending government would greatly smooth admission to the 
United States, where the authorities were said to believe that the Italian 
immigration "concealed an infiltration of dangerous and delinquent 
elements." 34 Although they were hardly alone in this respect, the Italians 
were indeed frequently suspected by American immigration officials of 
carrying either political or medical contagion, as well as of being "likely 
to become a public charge." 35 

The adoption of the 1901 law thus reflected not so much the reawak- 
ening of slumbering authoritarian habits as it did the ruling elite's 
acceptance of Italy's peripheral position in the Atlantic economy and of 
its vulnerability to class-based movements of social protest. Faced with 
persistent problems of unemployment in the Mezzogiorno and of rela- 
tive underdevelopment more generally, the Parliament sought to ensure 
that those embarked on a search for work overseas would succeed in 
finding what they were looking for. In addition, the Italian political lead- 
ership saw emigration as an opportunity to rid itself of some of its 
political malcontents. In 1896, several months after the disastrous defeat 
of the Italian army at Adowa (Adua) in Abyssinia, the Southern Italian 
economist and later prime minister, Francesco Nitti, had famously 
averred that emigration was a "powerful safety valve against class 
hatreds." Nitti knew whereof he spoke; rates of emigration from Italy 
during the pre-First World War period have been shown to correlate 
with a decline in votes for socialist parties. 36 

Some also saw the scattering of Italians throughout the world as pro- 
moting an oddly imperialist sort of nation-building. After the inglorious 



setback to colonial ambitions that was dealt to the Italians at Adowa, they 
argued that the peaceful overseas migration of Italians would extend the 
limits of Italy anywhere they went. But the more fervent nationalists, 
who insisted that conquest was the only way of dealing with excess popu- 
lation that was "worthy of a free and noble people," remained 
unsatisfied. These elements finally had their day when Italy invaded 
Tripoli in 1911, securing for the Italians vast expanses of desert over 
which they never exercised adequate control. 37 As a result of Italy's 
inability to subdue these areas, they failed to serve as an outlet for the 
overpopulated areas of the peninsula. Without extensive overseas 
colonies to populate, the emigration traffic remained in the more famil- 
iar streams of North and South America, and the numbers of emigrants 
swelled during the early twentieth century. 

Discussions about how to manage the departure of so many Italians 
without fatally weakening the state led, in 1912, to the adoption of a new 
law on citizenship that stopped just short of recognizing dual nationality. 
Instead of adopting this approach to holding onto its progeny - a step 
that would have violated the posture toward dual citizenship of the 
United States, in particular - the new citizenship law facilitated the rapid 
resumption of citizenship by expatriates. Yet despite the decision not to 
accept dual nationality, the law went on to insist that those who became 
naturalized citizens elsewhere did not thereby escape their military ser- 
vice obligations in Italy, thus ignoring one of the principal reasons states 
might have for denying recognition of dual citizenship: the possibility of 
conflicting military loyalties and obligations. 38 

Ironically, if the liberal objections to the passport law as a restraint on 
movement had carried the day, they might well have had the counter- 
productive effect of limiting the access of Italy's seafaring jobseekers to 
lands of opportunity. The law's opponents were nonetheless correct in 
claiming that, even if the law was not presently intended to restrict 
departures, it could be used to that end at some later time. The coming 
of the Great War would prove to be that later time; when that conflagra- 
tion broke out, Italy's troop needs would lead it to use passport controls 
to ensure that its able-bodied sons could not simply flee the colors 


During the same years that the United States was developing a 
"national" (i.e., "nationwide") approach to immigration questions that 
was also increasingly "nationalist" (i.e., antagonistic to other nations), 39 
France of the Third Republic was taking steps to distinguish more 



sharply between its own nationals and others. While these distinctions 
did not immediately lead to restrictions on the access of the latter to 
French territory, the creation of a bureaucratic machinery for deter- 
mining who was a Frenchman and who was not could and would later be 
used to facilitate exclusions. The documents that would be used to sepa- 
rate the national from the non-national emerged from a broader debate 
over the criteria of French nationality, in which the two major issues 
were the search for sources of new military recruits and associated 
resentment against the fact that foreigners on French soil escaped mili- 
tary obligations. One major result of this debate was the adoption of the 
1889 law on French citizenship, which extended French nationality to 
the children of immigrants born on French soil. 40 

Yet the emergence of an embryonic "social citizenship" also played a 
role in promoting identification documents that would divide the 
French from the non-French. Whereas health care and social insurance 
laws of the Second Empire had made no distinction between national 
and foreigner, most of the social welfare laws of the Third Republic man- 
dated that the benefits should be reserved for French natives. 41 In view 
of the large resident population of foreigners, means would have to be 
developed to implement these discriminatory policies, as well as to 
determine who was a French person more generally for purposes of 
assessing their obligations for military service. 

The relative openness of the borders beginning in the 1860s had 
resulted in the influx of considerable numbers of non-Frenchmen. In 
view of their exemption from military service, some argued in the 
French parliament that these persons had special advantages in the 
labor market relative to indigenous workers. Starting in 1884, demands 
arose for a special tax on foreigners that would amount to a sort of 
"compensation" for the disadvantages suffered by native hands. This 
proposal failed in the face of complaints from the Foreign Ministry of 
precisely the sort raised by the State Department in response to the 
Chinese Exclusion Acts. The Ministry objected that such a tax would 
violate the freedom of movement clauses inscribed in treaties between 
France and a variety of other countries, and that therefore "such 
measures would have led to France's exclusion from the international 
'community of nations.'" 42 

In the event, the parliament devised a means for circumventing the 
possibility that France would be driven out of the "community of 
nations" as a result of discriminatory taxation of foreigners. Instead of 
levying a direct tax, the government would require all foreigners wishing 
to establish a residence in France to register themselves in the town hall 
of the place where they resided. Upon doing so, they would receive a 
registration card - but only for a fee. In order to divert the suspicions of 



neighboring governments that they were trying to marginalize foreign- 
ers, the representative who proposed this scheme emphasized the 
matter of identification rather than that of taxation. 43 

As a result of this project, which found expression in a decree of 2 
October 1888, the system of "anthropometric" identification devised by 
Alphonse Bertillon during the preceding decade to track recidivist crim- 
inals was extended to the entire resident foreign population of France. 
Bertillon believed that individual stigmata were essential for identifica- 
tion and could be used to construct behavioral typologies, and 
bertillonage came to be an essential element of identification systems of 
various kinds, along with Galton's nearly simultaneous invention of fin- 
gerprinting. Still, we should not overestimate the effectiveness of these 
measures: governmental officials failed to implement them due to lack 
of understanding of their requirements, lack of resources to handle the 
task, or simple lack of interest, and immigrants themselves were slow to 
fulfill the new registration demands out of unawareness or a dearth of 
concern to carry out their requirements. 44 

The 1888 decree was directed at all foreigners without distinction, 
but precisely its generality led to objections among those who sought to 
control more rigorously the access of foreigners to the French labor 
market. These protests underlay the passage of the "Law concerning the 
Sojourn of Foreigners in France and the Protection of National Labor" 
of 8 August 1893, which mandated registration by all foreigners wishing 
to exercise an income-generating occupation. In order to register, the 
immigrant - who was presumed by the law to be male - had to present a 
valid piece of identification, normally a birth certificate. Those from 
countries that failed to establish a person's civil identity (etat civil) had 
to adduce a proof of identity validated by the consular officials of their 
country. Wives who, though not engaged in commercial activities 
directly, assisted their spouses in such businesses, were required to sign a 
personal declaration to this effect. In short, the law aimed to afford the 
French state a better "embrace" of those who, depending on economic 
circumstances, might be deemed less deserving of income-producing 
work than French nationals. Non-wage-earning foreigners such as stu- 
dents and rentiers remained subject to the 1888 decree. The statute of 
1893 distinguished for the first time in French law between "working" 
and "non-working" immigrants, and thus helped to create the now- 
familiar image of the "immigrant worker." 45 

The trouble with the 1893 law was that it imposed controls only on 
those who sought a fixed residence in France and wished to pursue an 
occupation on that basis. In other words, it left out those who practiced 
an ambulatory metier. Gradually, the parliament - notably including 
future prime minister Georges Clemenceau - directed its attention to 



this suspect group. As a result, a 1912 law focused on the control of 
"nomads" (itinerant persons and groups) and the vagaries of their exis- 
tence. While the law ignored the question of nationality and 
theoretically applied to all "nomads," it was in fact directed at foreigners, 
according to a contemporary analyst, for most of the "nomads" then cir- 
culating in France were of foreign origin. Whatever their nationality, 
such persons were now required to carry the "cornet des nomades," an 
"anthropometric identity document" that included fingerprints and 
photographs. The point was to insure that these wanderers would have a 
precise and "immutable" identity, even if this necessitated imposing a 
new one upon them. The authorities were free to refuse to issue these 
documents to those requiring them, however, giving the government 
"the possibility of denying individuals not only the right to reside but 
also the right to enter, on the grounds that their presence is deemed 
dangerous." Here the mobile non-national, the inscrutable outsider 
within, increasingly replaces the itinerant dangerous classes - the inter- 
nal "foreign" enemy of old, which in Germany had been liberated from 
these restrictions by the North German law of 1867 - as the object of 
routine suspicion. By 1917, identification cards would become manda- 
tory for all foreigners, and passport controls on their entry were 
reintroduced. 46 

The development and distribution of various forms of documentary 
identification helped to constitute people of different countries as 
mutually exclusive "nationals" who shared a common interest in the fate 
of their state - an interest that might well put them at odds with the 
nationals of other states. In late nineteenth-century Germany, this pro- 
cess grew to a considerable degree out of the struggles over the fate of 
estate-based agriculture in the German east, where a beleaguered aris- 
tocracy drew on impoverished Slavic workers that came to be perceived 
as a threat to the purity of Germandom. 


Although the liberal North German law of 1867 remained the funda- 
mental statute regarding passport controls in Germany until after the 
Second World War, its provisions with respect to population movements 
into Germany were already being abrogated in the late 1870s. 47 In early 
1879, the Imperial government imposed passport requirements on 
those coming from Russia in order, it said, to forestall the importation of 
a plague that had broken out there. Travelers returning to Germany 
from Russia were now required to have in their possession a passport 
that had been visaed within three days of their departure by the German 



embassy in Saint Petersburg or by a German consular official, and visaed 
again upon their arrival at the German border. 48 

The reintroduction of passport requirements in order to protect the 
German population from a serious medical threat would seem to have 
been reasonable enough. Yet only a few months later, the order was 
revised and the requirement was dropped that visa applicants demon- 
strate that they had not been in any of the areas (thought to be) 
contaminated by the plague during the preceding twenty days. In other 
words, all travelers from Russia were now required to have a passport 
visaed by German authorities in Russia and at the borders of the 
Empire. 49 A further revision of the law in December 1880 softened its 
strictures somewhat by repealing the visa obligation for subjects of the 
Empire, as well as for those from countries that permitted Germans to 
enter their territories without visas. 50 Nearly fifteen years later, yet 
another update of the law abolished visa requirements entirely on those 
returning from Russia, but left the passport requirement intact. 51 

These various revisions of the original February 1879 ordinance 
suggest that the German restrictions on entrants from Russia were 
not entirely related to the plague. The influx of Russian-Polish labor 
probably played a role as well. Despite the insistence of agricultural (and 
some industrial) employers that they needed labor, Bismarck - citing 
the "threat to the state potentially posed by a Polonization of a large 
segment of the Prussian population" - ordered the expulsion from 
Germany of some 40 000 Polish workers in 1885, and Poles were 
excluded from Germany for the next five years. 52 The demand for labor 
continued unabated, however, and after Bismarck's fall in 1890 the 
importation of Polish workers was resumed under strict conditions. 53 In 
1893, no less a figure than Max Weber called for the "absolute exclusion 
of the Russian-Polish workers from the German east," a position widely 
held among political leaders despite the interests of agricultural and 
other employers. In the absence of such restrictions, Weber famously 
feared that Germany was "threatened by a Slavic flood that would entail 
a cultural retrogression of several epochs." 54 

Despite the obvious ethnocentrism in Weber's remarks, it is worth 
recalling that he also viewed the importation of the Poles as a "means of 
struggle in the anticipated class struggle in this area, directed against 
the growing self-consciousness of the workers." In effect, Weber saw the 
Poles as "scabs" in the contest between agricultural workers and employ- 
ers. 55 In this respect the position of the Poles in eastern Germany 
paralleled quite closely that of the Chinese in California a few years 
earlier: both groups were used by employers as instruments in the ripen- 
ing class struggle, and both became the object of restrictive measures 
based on their alleged "racial" characteristics despite employer interests 



in their continued presence. "Racial" concerns would increasingly 
trump economic rationality as pseudo-scientific theories of eugenics 
moved to the fore in Germany and elsewhere in the coming years. 

The imposition of passport controls on those coming from Russia was 
in all likelihood part of the inchoate efforts to regulate the flow of Polish 
migrant labor. During this period, it was not unknown for foremen on 
agricultural estates seeking to hamper the mobility of foreign workers to 
"require that the workers give them their passports and luggage." 56 This 
sort of usage would help explain why after 1894 passports were required 
for those entering Germany from Russia even though visas were not; in 
these cases, the passport was being used simply as an identification doc- 
ument rather than as a border-crossing authorization. In any event, the 
sustained controversy over the importation of Polish workers ultimately 
led to the imposition in 1908 of a Legitimationszwang mandating that all 
foreign workers carry an identification card. These documents were an 
essential aspect of "a system of surveillance of foreigners as complete 
and total as feasible, as well as [of] an extensive bureaucracy for their 
supervision and control" in the form of the German Farm Workers 
Agency (Deutsche Feldarbeiterzentrale) , first established in 1905. Still, the 
degree of effectiveness of these restrictions should not be overestimated, 
for they were frequently skirted by employers and workers alike when 
this served their interests. 57 

Alternatively, the continued existence of passport requirements for 
travelers from Russia may have been a way of punishing that country for 
its continued insistence upon passport controls as a requirement of 
entry into its territories, in contradiction to the more open-handed 
practice then established in most of western and central Europe. 58 Yet 
as we have seen, a countertrend - a drift toward the "nationalization" of 
European states, that is, their stricter distribution of positions and ben- 
efits to their own nationals - had clearly been underway during these 
years. Toward the end of the century, this nationalizing process found 
explicit expression in a Prussian decree strictly prohibiting the relevant 
authorities from issuing passports to foreigners other than in excep- 
tional cases, a departure from a practice still quite common at that 
point. "Close examination [of the applicant's nationality] is necessary," 
the order insisted, "because unfortunate negotiations with foreign gov- 
ernments may have to take place that often result in Germany having to 
take in the passport-holder simply because he or she has a German 
passport." 09 The international system of states comprising mutually 
exclusive bodies of citizens was taking firmer shape, not least because 
governments increasingly had the capacity to get documents into peo- 
ple's hands identifying them as belonging to one country or another. 
Individual states, moreover, were less and less willing to extend their 



protections to non-nationals, giving rise to a system in which passports 
would be granted only by the officials of those states and only to their 
own nationals. 

Still, on the very eve of the First World War, a German student of the 
passport system wrote: 

Because in recent times the position of foreigners has grown much differ- 
ent from before . . . most modern states have, with but a few exceptions, 
abolished their passport laws or at least neutralized them through non- 
enforcement . . . [Foreigners] are no longer viewed by states with 
suspicion and mistrust but rather, in recognition of the tremendous value 
that can be derived from trade and exchange, welcomed with open arms 
and, for this reason, hindrances are removed from their path to the great- 
est extent possible. 60 

It seems clear from the evidence we have examined so far in this chapter 
that this assessment cannot have been an entirely accurate picture of the 
foreigner's situation. Yet these remarks suggest the enormous influence 
that economic liberalism still held in the minds of many Europeans. It 
was this latter set of ideas that had undergirded the unprecedented trend 
toward the relaxation of passport controls in late nineteenth-century 
Europe. Only the Great War would definitively reverse that trend. 


The booming of the guns of August 1914 brought to a sudden close the 
era during which governments viewed foreigners without "suspicion and 
mistrust" and they were free to traverse borders relatively unmolested. As 
was typical of wartime, the conflagration generated hostility toward those 
who might bear the patrie ill-will, and a renewed preoccupation with con- 
trolling their movements. Mobilization for war stiffens the backs of states 
and, like the threat of a hanging, concentrates their minds; administra- 
tion becomes focused on one single and overriding aim. The achievement 
of that aim during the First World War led to the consolidation of views 
about foreigners and methods for restricting their movements that would 
prove to be an enduring part of our world. It was not only foreigners that 
were affected, however, even if they bore the brunt of the new restrictions: 
the nationals of the various countries were subjected to intensified docu- 
mentary surveillance during the Great War as well. 

In pursuit of the objective of greater control over the movements 
alike of the national and the alien, passport controls were reintroduced 
across the continent. At first, reflecting the persistence of the view that 
such controls were acceptable only during time of war, the newly reinsti- 
tuted passport requirements were typically thought to be provisional 



measures, responses to a state of emergency. That the war would ulti- 
mately have the effect of bringing an end to the laissez faire era in 
international migration would not have been predicted by many con- 
temporaries. 61 

Thus, for example, French passport restrictions from the revolution- 
ary period that had been "allowed to lapse" were restored in the face of 
the crisis. 62 In addition, French lawmakers used the crisis to demarcate 
further between the French citizen and the foreigner via documents. 
Despite official protests from the French trade union confederation CGT 
that some of the newly adopted fingerprinted identification cards treated 
the citizen like "a convict," war-inspired xenophobia allowed the govern- 
ment to strengthen the documentary identification requirements for 
foreigners. In consequence of two decrees promulgated in April 1917, 
identification cards became mandatory for all foreigners above the age of 
fifteen living in France. The cards were to include the bearer's national- 
ity, civil status, occupation, photograph, and signature, and special color 
codes were employed to mark out wage earners in agriculture and indus- 
try. 63 The foreigner - and especially the "immigrant worker" - was 
becoming more and more intelligible by the documents he or she carried. 

In Britain, the Aliens Restriction Act 1914 sharply enhanced the 
power of the government, "when a state of war exists," to prohibit or 
impose restrictions on the landing or embarkation of aliens in the 
United Kingdom. The law made no explicit mention of passport 
requirements, which in any event had already been rejuvenated in 1905 
in response to the threat of a large-scale influx of East European Jews, 
and only after long years of opposition to an Aliens Bill by the stalwartly 
Mancunian Liberals. 64 Still, the law put the onus of proving that a person 
is not an alien on that person, making documentary evidence of one's 
nationality largely unavoidable, particularly if one did not look or sound 
"British." It also provided for the possibility of requiring aliens to live, or 
of prohibiting them from living, in certain areas, and of registering with 
the authorities their place of domicile, change of abode, or movement 
within the UK. Finally, the Act made provision for the appointment of 
immigration officers to carry out the order, an expansion of immigra- 
tion bureaucracy that helped strengthen the momentum for keeping 
passport controls in place after the war. 65 

The German government, too, adopted new passport controls under 
the emergency clauses of the liberal 1867 law - but now, rather than apply- 
ing only to those coming from Russia, they applied to everyone. Already 
on 31 July 1914, Germany implemented "temporary" passport restrictions 
on anyone entering the Empire from abroad. In the interest of permitting 
the return of eager or otherwise mobilized soldiers, the requirement was 
relaxed for those who could produce papers demonstrating that they were 



German subjects, stateless former Germans, or permanent residents of 
the Reich who had only been abroad temporarily. This provision presum- 
ably was implemented for the good reason that these people might very 
well not have had passports when they originally left Germany. 
Meanwhile, in order to avoid the flight of unwilling cannon fodder, those 
owing military service were to be eligible for passports for exit from 
Germany only with the approval of their commanding officers. At the 
same time, foreigners in any area of the Empire declared to be in a state 
of war were required to have a passport giving a proper account of their 
person. In the absence of a passport, other satisfactory documents were to 
be accepted, again presumably because the new regulations might have 
caught them with their papers down. 66 

Before the year was out, Germany strengthened these regulations fur- 
ther. Now, anyone who wished to enter or leave the territory of the 
Empire (excluding Alsace-Lorraine) was to be in possession of a pass- 
port. Foreigners anywhere in that territory, not just in war zones, also 
were required to have a passport or other acceptable document. All such 
passports, moreover, had to include a personal description, photograph, 
and signature of the bearer, along with an official certification that the 
"bearer is actually the person represented in the photograph." Finally, 
foreign passports for purposes of entry into the Empire had to have a visa 
from German diplomatic or consular authorities. At least during this 
early phase of the war, the Germans were nearly as concerned about 
controlling the movements of German nationals - in part, no doubt, in 
order to keep the soldiery fresh with recruits - as they were about keep- 
ing watch on those of foreigners. 67 

The next step in securing the territory of the patrie at war, taken in 
mid-1916, added to the passport requirements that a visa (Sichtvermerk) 
from German authorities was to be required from everyone, German or 
foreign, entering or leaving the territory of the Empire as well as of cer- 
tain occupied areas. 68 In addition to complicating the task of departing 
from German territory, this proviso fortified the "remote control" of the 
German military and consular bureaucracy over those wishing to enter 
from abroad, effectively extending outward the borders of the Empire. 

An accompanying order detailed, with stereotypically German 
precision, by and to whom German passports could be issued, the infor- 
mation they were to include, a standard passport form, the acceptable 
form of a foreign passport (which was supposed to conform to all the 
criteria of a German passport, including photograph, etc.), the form of 
a personal identity document (Personalausweis) acceptable in place of a 
passport, and the terms and conditions for the issuance of visas, depend- 
ing on whether these were for exit from, entry into, or transit through 
German territory. The order reaffirmed the late nineteenth-century 



stricture that German passports could be issued only to German nation- 
als, a status that was to be appropriately recorded. Notably, if the 
passport bearer had previously been stateless or of non-German nation- 
ality, such prior nationality or lack thereof and the date of naturalization 
to German citizenship were to be duly indicated in the passport. 69 
Clearly, the German authorities thought it was best to be aware of the 
possibility that someone might have divided loyalties, even despite 
having undergone the rigors of naturalization. 

The Italians' first step concerning documentary controls on move- 
ment after the outbreak of hostilities was not to issue new passports, but 
rather to recall those already in circulation among their citizens. By a 
decree of 6 August 1914, the government suspended the right of emi- 
gration of those obliged to do military service, annulling all passports in 
their possession. Like the German passport regulations, this order indi- 
cated the close connection between passport controls and efforts to 
insure that military recruits for the defense of the patrie would not be 
wanting. 70 Given the over-representation in the poorly paid and worse- 
fed infantry of Southerners with only a weak sense of national loyalties, 
it was hardly surprising that the Italian government would expect con- 
scripts to abscond if given the chance. 

In an effort to forestall such insubordination, the government tight- 
ened the passport requirements for Italians going abroad to work in May 
1915. Now, those bound anywhere, not just across the Atlantic, had to 
have a passport in order to leave, and in order to get one they had to 
present a work contract to the officials of the Royal Commissariat of 
Emigration. This, too, was intended as a "transitory" restriction, and 
would be abandoned once peace returned and Italy resumed its position 
as labor supplier to the more developed world. 71 

On the same day, the Italian government imposed passport require- 
ments on foreigners wishing to enter the Kingdom, reversing many years 
of an open-door policy. They made up for lost time, however, by imme- 
diately requiring not just passports but visas issued by Italian diplomatic 
or consular authorities in the place of departure as well. The severe law 
went on to require foreigners to present themselves to public security 
officials within twenty-four hours of their arrival to explain the circum- 
stances of their sojourn in Italy, as well as any military obligations which 
they might owe to the state of which they were nationals. A copy of this 
written declaration was to be sent to district officials responsible for pub- 
lic security; the declarants received a certificate attesting that they had 
fulfilled the requirements of the law. The papers necessary for moving 
around within Italy as a foreigner began to multiply. In addition, the law 
made residents of Italy part of the apparatus for keeping watch over 
foreigners. Anyone, citizen or foreigner, sheltering a foreigner had to 



submit to police officials a list of such persons within five days of their 
arrival, and within twenty-four hours to inform those officials of their 
departure and "the direction they have taken." In an indication of the 
growing reliance on modern technology to control movement, the 
Italians, like the Germans, demanded that such passports include a pho- 
tograph and a signature authenticated by the issuing authority. 72 

Yet the fact that each government felt the need to state such require- 
ments also reflected the incoherence of the passport system of the time 
and the uncertain status of these documents in international law. The 
Germans' insistence that the passports of those entering the Empire 
conform to German standards could not make them do so. Only after 
the Second World War would serious intergovernmental efforts be 
undertaken to standardize passport requirements in order to insure that 
those wishing to enter a particular country would have documents meet- 
ing its stipulations. 

The year 1916 intensified the Italian concern with documentary 
controls on movement, yet all three of the regulations issued concerned 
Italians rather than foreigners. A decree of 16 March temporarily 
suspended the issuance of passports for travel abroad, whether for work 
or any other purpose. 73 Three months later, another required a passport 
of every Italian citizen entering or leaving the kingdom. While this 
decree again made passports available for going abroad, such passports 
had to include a visa from the district public security office. Visas from 
an Italian embassy or legation were also necessary for entering the 
Kingdom, and these had to indicate both the length of the visa's validity 
and the precise location at which the person would enter Italian terri- 
tory. Subjects of Austria-Hungary who were Italian nationals were 
required to have a special passport described in the decree. 74 Finally, an 
order of 27 August revived internal passports, a document last addressed 
in statute in the law on public security of 1889. In order to be valid, these 
passes, too, now had to have photographs and to conform to the new 
model attached to the decree. 75 

Clearly, the opponents of the 1901 law had been right to fear that 
passport controls on Italians broader than those envisaged by that legis- 
lation might someday return. What is striking about the wartime Italian 
laws is that, despite having reversed a long-standing policy of undocu- 
mented entry to foreigners, most of the wartime restrictive legislation 
actually concerned Italians wishing to leave the country. Italy's tradi- 
tional experience as a country of emigration suggests that, when the 
exigencies of war demanded stepped-up military recruitment, retaining 
Italians who might have sought to shirk their soldierly obligations in 
favor of seeking work abroad was a larger problem for the government 
than that of keeping out foreigners. Indeed, some 290 000 soldiers - 



about six percent of the total — faced courts martial in Italy between May 
1915 and September 1919, usually for desertion. 76 


The generalized anxiety about borders that existed during the war did 
not subside with its end. Instead, the "temporary" measures imple- 
mented to control access to and departure from the territories of 
European states persisted into the shallow, fragile peace that was the 
interwar period. Although based on the liberal 1867 law of the North 
German Confederation abolishing passport requirements, an order of 
June 1919 reiterated and rendered permanent the wartime requirement 
that anyone crossing the borders of the Reich in either direction be in 
possession of a passport with visa, and reaffirmed the paragraph insist- 
ing that all foreigners in the territory of the Empire carry a passport. 77 

In Britain, similarly, the wartime restrictions on aliens won greater 
permanence with the Aliens Order 1920, which extended the validity of 
previous restrictions beyond the war's end. These restrictions, according 
to the Order, "should continue in force . . . not only in the [wartime] 
circumstances aforesaid, but at any time." Henceforward, anyone entering 
or leaving the UK was required to have "either a valid passport furnished 
with a photograph of himself or some other document satisfactorily 
establishing his national status and identity." The passport became the 
backbone of the system of documentary substantiation of identity used to 
register and keep watch over the movements of aliens in the UK. As in 
Italy during the war, foreigners in the UK were now subject to extensive 
reporting and documentary requirements, and keepers of inns in which 
aliens might happen to stay were drawn into the apparatus of surveil- 
lance over foreigners. The Order also mandated the maintenance of a 
"central register of aliens" under the direction of the Secretary of State. 78 

The Italians remained the anomaly. A decree of May 1919 reaffirmed 
the wartime requirement that emigrants have a passport in order to 
leave, whatever their destination. 79 According to a study of emigration 
restrictions by the International Labor Office, moreover, Italians intend- 
ing to depart for work in countries that required passports had to show a 
work contract before receiving their travel documents. 80 Again, however, 
what might have appeared to be - and, when necessary, could be trans- 
formed into - restrictions are better understood from the point of view 
of Italy's continued interest in exporting workers. As passport controls 
remained in force across Europe and in the United States after the war, 
the obligation that Italian emigrants have a passport and, where 
required, a work contract in order to get it were clearly efforts to facilitate 
rather than limit emigration. The passport obligations for foreigners 



entering Italy during the war years were never abolished, but this matter 
appears to have been of considerably less import to the Italian govern- 
ment than that of insuring that would-be emigrant workers be in a 
position to enter their destination countries, at least until the Fascists 
took power in the early 1920s. 


In the aftermath of the First World War, "the laissez-faire era in interna- 
tional labor migration had come to a close." 81 An important cause of this 
caesura was the erection of rigid barriers to entry into the United States, 
for it, too, allowed initially temporary, wartime passport restrictions on 
aliens to persist into the postwar period, at the same time that it extended 
the range of national groups who were denied entry into the country. The 
United States government first responded to the renewal of European 
restrictions on movement with an executive order on 15 December 1915, 
requiring all persons leaving the United States for a foreign country to 
have a passport visaed by American officials before departure - a prudent 
enough measure in view of the fact that such documents had once again 
come to be required in many destination countries. 82 

Then, in early 1917, the US Congress adopted a law - over repeated 
vetoes by President Wilson - that excluded adult immigrants unable to 
pass a simple literacy test, which had the effect of excluding large num- 
bers of people from areas of Europe that offered their inhabitants little 
schooling. In addition, the law prohibited entry by those from a "barred 
zone" in the Pacific; with Chinese, Japanese, and Korean immigration 
largely forbidden, the main targets of this legislation were Asian Indians 
who were technically "Aryans" or "Caucasians," and who were thus 
excluded on geographical rather than ethnoracial grounds. 83 

Finally, on 22 May 1918 - with the war nearly at an end - Congress 
adopted "An Act to prevent in time of war departure from or entry into 
the United States contrary to the public safety," which authorized the 
American President to impose specific restrictions on aliens wishing to 
enter or leave the country. The Act thus gave statutory foundation to the 
passport requirements adopted in December 1915. On 8 August 1918, 
President Wilson gave the law teeth with an executive order mandating 
that "hostile aliens must obtain permits for all departures from, and 
entries into, the United States." 84 At the end of 1919, Congress passed a 
revised version of the 1918 law that addressed only the issue of entry into 
the United States and dropped any mention of the proviso that the 
country find itself "in time of war." 85 As a result of these laws, the puta- 
tively "temporary" measures designed to ferret out "hostile aliens" were 



transmuted into weapons in the fight against "the undesirable, the 
enemy of law and order, the breeder of revolution, and the advocate of 
anarchy . . ." Passport controls came to play an important role at this 
point; one indication of this fact is that the various regional sections of 
the 1918 report of the Commissioner General of Immigration included 
only one separate discussion of "passport matters," whereas by 1919 all of 
the regions did so. 86 With Asians from the "barred zone" almost entirely 
excluded, literacy tests required, and documentary restrictions in place, 
the stage was set for more thoroughgoing measures of exclusion. 

Yet in one region that constituted a significant source of immigrant 
flows, namely Mexico, restrictionism failed to carry the day, although 
not for lack of official attention. It should be recalled here that US 
involvement in the First World War was sparked to a considerable extent 
by the "Zimmermann telegram," which was published in the American 
press on 1 March 1917, and instructed the German minister in Mexico 
City to offer German support to Mexican efforts to recover Texas, New 
Mexico, and Arizona in the event of war between Germany and the 
United States. 87 With fears of alien infiltration from the south on the 
rise, beginning in 1917 border control measures along the Mexican 
frontier grew feverish. In a letter to the Commissioner General of 
Immigration dated 5 February 1918, however, the assiduous Supervising 
Inspector of the Immigration Bureau responsible for the border, Frank 
Berkshire, informed his boss that his resources were inadequate to 
patrol the border effectively, and that the cooperation of other govern- 
ment agencies and the military, while willing, was too uncoordinated to 
be of use. Berkshire thus proposed the creation of a separate, perma- 
nent organization, "similar perhaps to the Northwest Mounted Police of 
Canada," numbering 2000-3000 men and charged specifically and 
exclusively with the task of controlling movements across the border. 88 

Apparently Berkshire failed to receive the immediate help he had 
requested, however, for he soon felt compelled to inform his superiors 
that the efforts of his subordinates to control the border had been 
largely unavailing. Indeed, to the extent that they accomplished any- 
thing at all, they had exercised control over the wrong people. In the 
1918 report of the Commissioner General of Immigration, Berkshire 
wrote in the section of his summary concerning "Passport Matters" that 
the number of agents detailed to monitor the border was simply not suf- 
ficient to be effective. Berkshire noted that passport controls, however 
meticulously carried out, could be undertaken only at the "regular 
immigration ports of entry," which left many miles of "remote and 
unfrequented points" easy targets for the movements of enemies. 
Accordingly, Berkshire concluded: 



It is logical to assume that the most dangerous of the enemy's agents have 
sought, and will continue to seek, these points to avoid attracting atten- 
tion. In the main, therefore, the passport regulations as now enforced 
discommode thousands of loyal, or in any event, not unfriendly persons 
whose legitimate business or innocent pleasures naturally take them 
through the regular channels, while the frontier elsewhere is inadequately 
guarded. 89 

In essence, Berkshire was pointing to the much greater difficulty of 
using documents to control a land border than to restrict the entry of 
passengers on steamships (or, later, airplanes) . A few years later, as the 
futility of paper barriers in the face of so much open country came to be 
recognized, his pleas for more manpower to control the lengthy 
Mexican frontier would be answered with the creation of the Border 
Patrol in 1924. Despite its preoccupation nowadays with controlling the 
movements of Mexican immigrants, the Patrol initially focused on 
restricting the entry of Europeans and Asians whose immigration had 
been circumscribed by the various acts of the preceding years. With the 
late nineteenth-century foreclosure of cheap immigrant labor from 
across the Pacific and the growing restrictions on European immigrants, 
Mexico had come to serve as a critical source of labor in Southwestern 
agriculture and industry - a role it continues to play today. The new 
Border Patrol, gradually retooled to regulate the influx of countless 
brown-skinned peasants, would ultimately come to play an important if 
ambiguous role in regulating the flow of Mexican labor into the United 
States, gingerly negotiating the conflicting pressures of labor-hungry 
agricultural interests on the one hand, and domestic political groups 
bent on restriction on the other. 90 

The creation of the Border Patrol took place in the context of a much 
broader restrictionist thrust on the part of the American government 
that would soon entail the projection of state power far beyond the ter- 
ritorial borders of the country. In 1921, the United States adopted the 
first "national origins" quota, restricting immigration to a small percent- 
age of those nationalities represented in the US population in the 1910 
census. Realizing subsequently that large numbers of Southern and 
Eastern Europeans had entered the country by that time, the defenders 
of white America returned to the ramparts three years later to pass 
another law that took as a baseline the 1890 census, when the "Nordic" 
stock of the country was more predominant. 91 But restriction of incom- 
ing persons along these lines was easier said than done. Because the 
1921 law had mandated a quota system without adequate provision for 
its implementation, hundreds of excess visas were issued abroad to 
steamship passengers making their way to the US. As a result, steamer 



captains would seek "to bring their passengers into the United States at 
the earliest possible moment after the opening of the new quota month. 
Midnight ship racing into New York Harbor in order to cross the 
entrance line before quotas were exhausted became a monthly event, 
and much distress and many deportations usually followed." 92 This 
arrangement simply would not do. 

The Immigration Act of 1924 thus provided that American consuls 
abroad be charged with the task of keeping control of the quotas 
themselves and distributing immigration visas accordingly. At the same 
time, various other qualifications - including police checks, medical 
inspections, financial responsibility determinations, and political 
interviews - could be established long before the intending immigrant 
reached the country. As many who have taken the tour of Ellis Island 
National Park will know, the stated purpose of this approach was to avoid 
situations in which eager but impecunious emigrants might sell off all 
their worldly possessions in order to purchase a steamship ticket, only to 
be told upon arrival that they were inadmissible for any number of 
reasons. In contrast to this interpretation, Zolberg has characterized this 
set of procedures as a form of "remote border control," a major innova- 
tion in immigration policy implementation that "proved remarkably 
effective from the time of [its] institutionalization in the 1920s until well 
into [the] 1970s . . . [and] which by any reasonable standard must be 
reckoned as a remarkable administrative achievement." 93 

While both interpretations of the new requirement may be correct 
without contradiction, for our purposes it is essential to see that the sys- 
tem worked because of the development of documentary requirements 
that powerfully supported the claims of states to monopolize the legiti- 
mate means of movement. The passport requirements on foreigners left 
intact after the First World War provided the essential administrative 
basis for the implementation of the restrictionary immigration laws of 
the 1920s. How else was the immigration officer at Ellis Island to know 
whether a would-be immigrant belonged to one of the nationalities 
whose immigration was to be restricted under that legislation? 

It is true that the newly permanent passport controls that persisted after 
the First World War generally applied not just to foreigners, but to both 
citizens and aliens. This was a necessary outcome of the desire to control 
borders against unwanted entrants, however, and aliens had increasingly 
come to be seen as lacking any prima facie claim to access to the territory 
of a state other than their own. In the absence of telltale markers such as 
language or skin color - which are themselves inconclusive as indicators 
of one's national identity, of course, but which nonetheless frequently 



have been taken as such - a person's nationality simply cannot be deter- 
mined without recourse to documents. As an ascribed status, it cannot 
be read off a person's appearance. 

The (re)imposition of passport controls by numerous West European 
countries and the United States during the First World War and their 
persistence after the war was an essential aspect of that "revolution identi- 
ficatoire" 94 that vastly enhanced the ability of governments to identify 
their citizens, to distinguish them from non-citizens, and thus to con- 
struct themselves as "nation-states." With the general rise of the 
protectionist state out of the fires of the First World War, 95 the countries 
of the North Atlantic world became caught up in a general trend toward 
nationalist self-defense against foreigners. Documents such as passports 
and identification cards that help determine "who is in" and "who is out" 
of the nation here took center stage, and thus became an enduring and 
omnipresent part of our world. 

These documents were an essential element of that burgeoning 
"infrastructural" power to "grasp" individuals that distinguishes modern 
states from their predecessors. 96 Specific historical forces such as the 
development of welfare states and the rise of labor movements seeking 
to control access to jobs and social benefits certainly played their part in 
promoting immigration controls and the sharpening of states' capacities 
to distinguish between "them" and "us." 97 Yet there were specifically 
political factors involved as well, particularly the advance of processes of 
democratization that increasingly brought the individual members of 
national states into closer relationship with states across the North 
Atlantic world. The tighter connection between citizens and states as a 
result of democratization led to an intensified preoccupation with deter- 
mining who is "in" and who is "out" when it came to enjoying the 
benefits - both political and economic - of membership in those states. 98 
This is one of the ways that democratization promoted bureaucratiza- 
tion, a dynamic that Weber noted long ago. In the process, passports 
became essential to the bureaucratic administration of modern mass 
migration, just as identity cards have become something like the "cur- 
rency" of domestic administration, marking out eligibles from 
ineligibles in the areas of voting, social services, and much more besides. 




The growing importance of national belonging resulted in a profusion 
of bureaucratic techniques for administering the boundaries of the 
nation, in both territorial and membership terms, in the period up to 
and immediately after the First World War. At the same time, the 
number of states that understood themselves in national terms was 
increasing as a product of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian, 
Ottoman, and Russian Empires: the era witnessed the end of dynastic 
states in Europe and the elimination of the "easy-going nations" of the 
past in favor of what Karl Polanyi called the "crustacean type of nation," 
which crabbily distinguished between "us" and "them." 

The rapidly improving technological possibilities for movement thus 
confronted intensified controls on ingress into the territories of 
European states, although restrictions on departure had increasingly 
become the province of authoritarian states alone. Egidio Reale, the 
leading contemporary analyst of the new passport regime, describes its 
impact with a variant of the Rip Van Winkle story: a man awakes during 
the interwar period from a slumber of some years to find that he can 
talk on the telephone to friends in London, Paris, Tokyo, or New York, 
hear stock market quotations or concerts from around the globe, fly 
across the oceans - but not traverse earthly borders without stringent 
bureaucratic formalities in the course of which his nationality would be 
scrutinized closely. 1 

Yet the unprecedented difficulty of international migration that 
flowed from the successful state monopolization of the legitimate means 
of movement in the post-First World War era had ironic consequences 
as well. In a world of nation-states, in which the population of the globe 
is theoretically divided up into mutually exclusive bodies of citizens, 



international migration is an anomaly with which the state system has 
some awkwardness coping. Those who lack the attributes of citizenship 
in a country, and especially those who find themselves without the docu- 
ments attesting to their legal identity and status, face special problems in 
navigating the system. After the First World War, as huge population 
flows were set in motion by political and social change, forces associated 
with the League of Nations - an organization that both ratified and 
sought to transcend the notion of a world comprising nation-states - felt 
compelled by circumstances to attempt to deal with the reality that many 
in the game of international musical chairs had ended up without a seat 
in the turbulent aftermath of the war. 

With millions of people on the move in response to the transforma- 
tions that were taking place, and often seeking to escape violent conflict, 
the limitations of a system that presupposed mutually exclusive citizen- 
ries all of whom were distributed uniquely to one state or another 
became apparent almost immediately in the interwar era. The most 
obvious challenge to such a system was the emergence of that "most 
symptomatic group in contemporary politics," the stateless, whose plight 
"is not that they are not equal before the law, but that no law exists for 
them; not that they are oppressed but that nobody wants even to oppress 
them." 2 The efforts to alleviate some of the problems encountered by 
these wanderers among worlds led to the creation of the first interna- 
tional refugee regime, a coordinated if not entirely effective effort on 
the part of numerous states to clear away the difficulties faced by many 
stateless migrants during this period. Prominent among these efforts 
were attempts to reduce the barriers to migration that the stateless con- 
fronted, not least by providing them with travel documents that would 
be recognized by potential receiving states. 3 

Despite the innovation of the burgeoning refugee regime and its 
(limited) contribution to resolving the various problems of forced 
migrants, the period would culminate in dramatic movements of 
refugees occasioned by the Nazis' project to attain European (and 
indeed global) dominion. The biological racism at the root of Nazi ide- 
ology underwrote a kind of national imperialism. The ultimate aim of 
Nazi policy was to eliminate elements of the German population that 
were "alien to the blood" (art- or blutsfremd) - especially Jews - or "life 
unworthy of life" (lebensunwertes Leben, such as homosexuals and 
Gypsies), as well as to subjugate, enslave, and exterminate groups out- 
side German borders that were deemed inferior in the racial hierarchy, 
such as Slavs. It is not difficult to see that the achievement of this racial- 
imperialist program demanded a great deal of classification and 
identification of particular population groups. Identity documents and 
the imposition of visible marks of group affiliation - a reversal of earlier 



trends away from "writing on the body" against the will of those written 
upon - were crucial to the Nazis' goals of creating a purified master race 
that ruled arbitrarily over or extirpated non-Aryans. The hardening of 
passport controls on movement that issued from the First World War 
would also contribute to the miseries faced by the many victim groups 
that the Nazis singled out for "special treatment" during their assault on 
Western civilization, although the extent to which immigration restric- 
tions in the democratic countries resulted in disaster for the Jews has 
recently been the subject of renewed debate. 


In the tempest of revolution and imperial collapse that followed the First 
World War, millions were set adrift as multinational empires were trans- 
formed into nation-states across much of Europe. At the same time, 
populations that fell under the sway of authoritarian states found that 
their chances for departure were undermined, whether in the interest 
of strengthening military forces or to prevent the enemies of a regime 
from propagandizing against it abroad. This pattern testifies to the truth 
of the observation that a concomitant of the nation-building processes 
of this period was that "prohibitions against exit were associated with 
the creation of internal conditions that produced a desire to leave and 
with expulsion." 4 This apparendy contradictory set of circumstances 
characterized especially well the situation in Russia after the Bolshevik 

Among the groups impelled to leave their countries of origin follow- 
ing the First World War, the refugees from Russia were surely the most 
prominent in the eyes of those concerned with migration issues. 
Subjects of the new Communist regime left the Soviet Union en masse 
during the civil war and the associated famines of 1919-22; the demog- 
rapher Eugene Kulischer estimated the total out-migration from that 
country alone in the early interwar period at 1.75 million. This figure 
included a variety of ethnically non-Russian groups such as Germans, 
Poles, Rumanians, Lithuanians, Letts, Karelians, and Greeks; the 
"Russian emigration" proper he estimated at some 900 000. 5 

In the unlikely event that these unfortunates had managed to secure 
satisfactory travel documents before departing, the Soviets soon took 
long-distance vengeance on those who left the USSR for their presumed 
antipathy toward the regime. A decree of 15 December 1922 denational- 
ized the vast majority of Russian refugees, rendering them stateless 
and invalidating their travel documents. In other words, by manipulat- 
ing the legal status of its subjects, the Bolsheviks could punish from afar 



those who, by voting with their feet, brought discredit on the Soviet 
experiment. During the same year of 1922, the regime began strictly to 
prohibit emigration. This stance on the part of the Soviet government 
helped to stabilize the Russian refugee problem in Europe, although 
migrants continued to leave for the Far East until 1935. 6 Here, indeed, 
was the textbook combination of restrictions on departure and the pro- 
duction of a desire to leave that was most typical of the authoritarian 
states of this period. 

The ascendancy to power of the Fascists in Italy in late 1922 had 
similar consequences, if on a much smaller scale. Soon after assuming 
the reins, Mussolini began rattling sabers and promoting the use of 
force in politics. In January of the following year, Mussolini created the 
Fascist Militia - a largely symbolic force, perhaps, but a private army for 
il Duce - "to defend the Fascist revolution." Within two months, the 
regime tightened passport requirements for those wishing to leave the 
country who were liable for military service. 7 The new regulations 
bespoke the Fascists' inclination to reverse the policy of Italian govern- 
ments before the First World War, which were oriented toward 
facilitating emigration as a safety valve for class conflict and the tensions 
generated by economic underdevelopment. The Fascist posture con- 
cerning emigration was articulated by Dino Grandi, an Undersecretary 
of Foreign Affairs, in 1927: 

Why should Italy still serve as a kind of human fish pond, to feed countries 
suffering from demographic impoverishment? And why should Italian 
mothers continue to bear sons to- serve as soldiers for other nations? 
Fascism will cease to encourage emigration, which saps the vital forces of 
race and State. 8 

By the late 1920s, the Fascists had promulgated a law against "abusive 
emigration" and were withdrawing passports from suspected anti-fascists. 
Still, Italian exile communities flourished in France; the aforementioned 
Egidio Reale, a socialist, was part of that emigration. The Fascist regime 
sought to spy on them in part by magnanimously offering to renew their 
travel documents abroad, an opportunity many of them had the good 
sense to decline. Ironically, the strictures against departure and the use of 
internal exile as a means of dealing with regime opponents had the result 
that Italian fascism proved to be the incubator of one of the most endur- 
ing critiques of the country's political and economic problems, Carlo 
Levi's majestic Christ Stopped at Eboli. 9 Despite a brief return after 1929 to 
the old stance of allowing jobseekers to leave in search of work during 
hard times, these policies put an end to large-scale emigration until after 
the Second World War, when Italy became the semi-periphery of a 
European regional economy dominated by Germany. 10 



In addition to the flows of emigres from the Soviet Union and Fascist 
Italy, major refugee problems developed in the area of the former 
Ottoman Empire as Turkey sought to turn itself into a modern, Western- 
oriented nation-state under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) . 
The old system of "millets," which had guaranteed autonomous self- 
government under Ottoman tutelage to the religious communities 
under its rule (Muslim, Christian, and Jewish), would have to give way in 
the face of growing nationalist sentiment." The Greeks, who had gained 
independence from their Muslim overlords already in 1829, took up 
arms against the declining Empire in pursuit of the restoration of a 
greater Greece straddling the Aegean. These designs inevitably drew in 
Bulgaria and Serbia, who also contended for land in Macedonia, with 
the overall result that the Balkans became engulfed in wars lasting for 
a decade after 1912. For the Armenians, many of whom had enjoyed 
prestigious positions under Ottoman rule, the conflicts in the region 
had the positive result that they received an independent homeland 
(which became a Soviet republic after November 1920) - which they 
had lacked, and which might have helped protect them, when the Turks 
carried out a genocidal onslaught against them in 1915. 

As in the contest of the late 1990s over Kosovo between Serbia and 
the region's ethnic Albanian inhabitants, these armed conflicts gave rise 
to substantial refugee movements. After a Turkish assault on Smyrna 
(Izmir) in September 1922, for example, over a million Anatolian Greek 
and Armenian refugees poured into Greece within a few weeks. In the 
interest of creating more ethnically homogeneous citizenries on their 
respective soils - a project already promoted on the Turkish side, of 
course, by the genocide against the Armenians - the Greeks and Turks 
soon organized a massive exchange of populations involving some 1.5 
million people. Overall, some two million persons became refugees in 
the Balkans in the course of the great "unmixing of populations" that 
took place in the aftermath of the conflicts associated with the decline of 
the Ottoman Empire. 12 

In conjunction with the demise of the Dual Monarchy and the 
redrawing of boundaries in Austria-Hungary, the collapse of the 
Ottoman Empire and the revolutionary transformation of the Russian 
Empire gave birth to a number of new states that - against all evidence - 
understood themselves as ethnically homogeneous nation-states. The 
obvious absurdity of such claims in the "belt of mixed populations" in 
Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe resulted in the Minority Treaties 
of the early interwar period, which sought to insure certain rights to the 
various ethnic groups in the region who failed to achieve recognition as 
"state peoples" and who were correspondingly "submerged" under 
others who were fortunate enough to do so. In Arendt's view, the "real 



significance of the Minority Treaties lies ... in the fact that they were 
guaranteed by an international body, the League of Nations"; because 
"the nation had conquered the state," it was now widely held that non- 
nationals could not enjoy the rights of citizens, and such rights as they 
had would have to be vouched for by some superordinate body. The 
thoroughgoing achievement of the nation-state ideal for some peoples 
generated a situation in which those who failed in their bid for national 
states were compelled to rely for their rights on a supranational organi- 
zation, the League of Nations. 13 The League thus appears as sort of deus 
ex machina that arose almost of necessity from the triumph of the nation- 
state system, and that might help save it from its intrinsic conundrums 
and excesses. 

These excesses were particularly apparent in the realm of migration. 
Many of the migrants forced to leave their homes by the often violent 
processes of nation-state-building faced substantial constraints on their 
movements as a result of the general antipathies toward foreigners and 
the documentary requirements that had been imposed on travelers 
throughout Europe during and after the war. Already in 1920, the 
League of Nations convened an international conference in Paris to 
deal with the difficulties created by the new passport regime and issued 
a number of recommendations designed to reduce the unwonted 
peacetime restrictions on movement. The 1921 conference of the Inter- 
Parliamentary Union in Stockholm expressed its condemnation of the 
passport system and called for greater freedom of movement. The pleas 
of the participants in these meetings, and those of later such 
conferences, fell largely on deaf ears, however. The passport regime had 
become broadly institutionalized, complicating the movements of hun- 
dreds of thousands of would-be travelers, emigrants, and refugees who 
lacked the documentation necessary to establish their identity - or who 
had been stripped of the legal nationality they needed to acquire the 
proper papers. 14 

The League of Nations nonetheless persisted in its efforts to smooth 
documentary formalities for immobilized refugees. At the height of the 
Russian refugee crisis in early 1922, the League of Nations' High 
Commissioner for Refugees, the Norwegian explorer-cum-humanitarian 
Frijdtof Nansen, called attention to the problem of travel documents for 
refugees in a report to the Council of the League. Then, in July, Nansen 
convened in Geneva a conference attended by representatives of sixteen 
governments to deal with this matter. The participants joined in the 
"Arrangement of 5 July 1922" to create an identification and travel doc- 
ument for Russian refugees that would find international acceptance, 
which became known simply as the "Nansen passport." According to this 
(non-binding) agreement, participating governments could issue the 



document without thereby committing themselves to granting citizen- 
ship rights to the bearer. Governments agreed to recognize the 
documents as valid, but at the same time they were not required to 
admit their bearers. The Arrangement was a considerable success; by 
September 1923, a total of thirty-one governments around the world 
had acceded to its terms, and by the end of the decade more than fifty 
would do so. 15 

Initially, before the documents were extended to other groups, 
Nansen passports stated that the bearer was a Russian national, were 
valid for one year, and would become invalid if the bearer acquired 
another nationality. Despite the fact that many of the recipients of these 
certificates were in fact stateless, particularly after the Soviet denational- 
ization decree of December 1922, the designation "personne d'origine 
russe" was included not only because the recipients were former Russian 
nationals but also because "one would not have dared to tell the Russian 
emigre that he was without nationality or of doubtful nationality." 
Moreover, later attempts to provide uniform identity cards to all stateless 
persons were "bitterly contested" by holders of Nansen passports 
because they would thus have lost the distinctive mark of their status as 
refugees of Russian origin. 16 

Yet the demands of the refugee crisis in early interwar Europe led 
ineluctably to the extension of the Nansen passport to other groups. 
The Armenians - formerly subjects of the Ottomans, the Czarist Empire, 
the short-lived independent Armenian Republic, or Soviet Armenia, but 
now scattered throughout Europe and Asia Minor - frequently found 
themselves similarly ill-positioned to present the passports and identifi- 
cation documents demanded of them in their places of would-be refuge. 
In May 1924, accordingly, the League of Nations reached another 
"Arrangement" granting the Armenians access to Nansen passports. 
Nearly forty governments assented to this expansion of international 
authority to issue travel documents to the stateless. 17 

Despite its obvious usefulness to the Russians and Armenians who 
received it, the Nansen passport had serious shortcomings. Chief among 
these was the fact that the certificates offered their bearers no guarantee 
of (re) admission to the country that had issued the document. In cer- 
tain respects this made it rather easy for governments to distribute 
Nansen passports; by supplying these documents to would-be travelers, 
they could facilitate the departure and international travel of refugees 
without assuming any responsibility to take them in at a later time. 
In 1926, an intergovernmental conference with participants from 
twenty-five countries took an important step toward ameliorating this 
deficiency by agreeing to revise the original arrangement to the effect 
that Nansen passport-holders would henceforth have the right to have 



a return visa stamped on the certificate. Presumably because this new 
provision came dangerously close to granting these refugees rights of 
access to territory that were now typically reserved for citizens; however, 
only about half of the governments that had acceded to the original 
Arrangement endorsed the new agreement. 18 

Two years later, the League of Nations took a further step toward giv- 
ing certain elements of a kind of supranational citizenship to bearers of 
Nansen passports. A new "Arrangement" of 30 June 1928 gave the High 
Commissioner for Refugees the authority to perform certain consular 
functions on behalf of refugees, including certifying their identity and 
civil status, attesting to their character, and recommending them to gov- 
ernment and educational authorities. These arrangements were 
eventually codified into international law in the 1933 Convention on 
Refugees. On the same day, the League also further expanded the list of 
groups that could be granted Nansen documents. The groups affected 
were principally some 19 000 Assyrians and other Christian minorities 
from formerly Ottoman territories. Only thirteen states signed this 
accord, however. 19 

Despite its shortcomings, the Nansen passport was a notable achieve- 
ment in a period that apotheosized the nation-state. The historian 
Michael Marrus has referred to this period as "the Nansen era," and 
described the significance of the Nansen passport as follows: 

For the first time it permitted determination of the juridical status of state- 
less persons through a specific international agreement; at a time when 
governments and bureaucracies increasingly defined the standing of their 
citizens, it nevertheless allowed an international agency, the High 
Commission, to act for those whom their countries of origin had rejected. 20 

A recent analyst of the origins of modern refugee arrangements has writ- 
ten simply: "The beginning of international refugee law can properly be 
dated to the creation of the Nansen passport system." 21 Indeed, the 
Nansen passport represented the first step toward resolving at the supra- 
national level the internal contradictions of a system of movement 
controls rooted in national membership. These contradictions were the 
underside of the Wilsonian idea of national self-determination that gave 
birth to both a number of new nation-states and to the group of "state- 
less persons" that so typified the interwar scene in Europe. 

The persistence of strictures on movement across national borders 
also derived, however, from economic policies that dramatically reversed 
the economic liberalism that had underwritten the late nineteenth- 
century period of relatively unencumbered movement. During the 
interwar period, free trade gave way to protectionism, the constraints of 
which helped bring on the Great Depression of the 1930s. Writing about 



the era of the "national economy" that characterized the interwar 
period, Hobsbawm has described the results as follows: 

For a few years the world economy itself appeared to be on the verge of 
collapse, as the rivers of international migration dried to trickles, high 
walls of exchange controls inhibited international payments, interna- 
tional commerce contracted, and even international investment showed 
momentary signs of collapse. As even the British abandoned Free Trade in 
1931, it seemed clear that states were retreating as far as they could into a 
protectionism so defensive that it came close to a policy of autarchy, miti- 
gated by bilateral agreements. 22 

The devotion to liberal economic policies that had lifted the fortunes 
of free movement during the nineteenth century had now been aban- 
doned. Karl Polanyi trenchandy summed up the situation in these terms: 

[Protectionism everywhere was producing the hard shell of the emerging 
unit of social life. The new entity was cast in the national mold, but had 
otherwise only little resemblance to its predecessors, the easygoing 
nations of the past. The new crustacean type of nation expressed its 
identity through national token currencies safeguarded by a type of 
sovereignty more jealous and absolute than anything known before. 

Currencies within, passports without. 

Or within, if the country was of the totalitarian variety. Whereas the 
labor needs of industry had resulted in occasional acute shortages of 
labor until 1932, the famine that resulted from the disastrous collec- 
tivization policy of the First Five Year Plan (1928-33) confronted the 
regime with the potentially uncontrolled migration of starving peasants 
to already overcrowded cities by the end of that year. The Bolsheviks 
decided that something had to be done. In a bureaucratic effort to reg- 
ulate domestic migration flows, Stalin (re)introduced the internal 
passport, which soon became "one of the main levers of social and polit- 
ical control in the USSR." 24 

Actually, the 27 December 1932 law inaugurating the passport system 
was the centerpiece in a broader effort by the regime to stanch the influx 
of peasants into the cities. These included a tightening up of the system of 
registration for residents of urban areas, with which the passport system 
was intimately tied; a law strengthening punishment for absenteeism, 
such that workers absent for as little as a day were to be fired, evicted from 
enterprise housing, and deprived of their ration cards; decrees designed 
to reduce the number of workers receiving rations, diminish abuses of the 
rationing system, and connect the distribution of rations directly to work 
and the enterprises; and, in the spring of 1933, a directive barring collec- 
tive farm workers from leaving rural areas for work in the towns. 25 This 
remarkable series of decrees made it increasingly impossible for Soviet 



citizens to find food or housing unless they were properly registered and 
domiciled - which registration, in turn, was vital for receiving a passport 
for movement within the USSR. Because these documents constituted the 
backbone of a system of controls that linked employment, residence, and 
access to goods, the internal passport would come to constitute an essen- 
tial part of the everyday life of the Soviet citizen, "the heart of police 
power" 26 in the Soviet Union. 

Even in democratic societies, however, the strains of global economic 
collapse threatened to reverse the achievement of unified national 
spaces of free movement. Less well-known than the immigration restric- 
tion bills of the 1920s is the fact that, in the 1930s, patrols were set up at 
the California borders to keep out hungry escapees from the misery of 
the Dust Bowl, who were "deported" immediately if they seemed likely to 
become burdens on the public purse. It took until 1941 for the Supreme 
Court to invalidate the law authorizing these expulsions, at which time 
the court reaffirmed the right to domestic travel as a right of citizen- 
ship. 27 In the same year, the United States introduced what would 
become the permanent requirement that its departing citizens have a 
passport in their possession, at least for travel outside the Western 
Hemisphere. As on previous occasions, the obligation initially was con- 
ceived as a provisional, wartime measure, and rested on a presidential 
proclamation of a national emergency. 28 The immediate emergency that 
gave occasion for such a proclamation, of course, was Nazism. 


The National Socialists' approach to dealing with their Jewish "problem" 
was a complex mixture of the "reactionary" and the "modern." 29 On the 
reactionary side, they reintroduced measures for the control of popula- 
tion movements and for the identification of persons that were 
throwbacks to earlier ages and practices since superseded and left 
behind by more democratic governments. And in an era in which 
national citizenship had become the sine qua non of access to rights, the 
Nazis adopted such reactionary measures as stripping their internal 
enemies of their citizenship in order to deprive them of protection and 
leave them vulnerable to the persecutions that one could visit upon the 
rightless, especially on those lacking a "homeland" state to which they 
might appeal for aid. 

The "modernist" side of the pincers involved, among other things, 
the use of the most advanced techniques of population registration and 
documentary controls on movement to keep track of real or putative 
enemies and to mobilize the population to achieve the regime's ends. 



For example, the Nazi government began to construct the administra- 
tive machinery for identifying and monitoring the whereabouts of Jews 
with a special census of German Jews carried out in conjunction with the 
general census of June 1933. This extraordinary count, which aimed to 
establish "an overview of the biological and social situation of German 
Jewry," determined that there were at that time exactly 16 258 Jews in 
Germany who had been born outside the country but who had subse- 
quently acquired German citizenship. More broadly, 115 000 foreign or 
foreign-born Jews lived in Germany in mid-1 933, a figure representing 
twenty-three percent of the total Jewish population. 30 

It was against this background that the regime began to undertake 
measures to marginalize non-German Jews, such as the denationalization 
law of 14 July 1933. The "Law on the Retraction of Naturalizations and the 
Derecognition of German Citizenship" empowered the regime to dena- 
tionalize anyone who had acquired German citizenship between the end 
of the war in 1918 and the day Hitler took power as Reichskanzler in late 
January 1933. It was probably not coincidental that this measure, which 
took aim at naturalizations carried out by the Weimar government much 
reviled by the Nazis, was adopted on Bastille Day (14 July) 1933. The 
implementing order for the law made clear that "East European Jews" 
were one of its central targets. These recently immigrated groups, many of 
whom had come fleeing pogroms in Poland and elsewhere, were the 
object of a good part of the regime's earliest "special treatment." Yet of the 
Ostjuden who had entered Germany during the Weimar period, as we have 
seen, relatively few had acquired citizenship. As a result, "the Nazis were to 
discover that even they could not revoke the citizenship of those who were 
not citizens." 31 Soon enough, of course, the Nazis would see to it that no 
Jews could ever be citizens with the Nuremberg laws of 1935. 32 

The 1933 special census of Jews in Germany, however, was only the 
beginning of the Nazis' effort to invoke the most sophisticated statistical 
and administrative means to pursue its program of racial domination. 
The dozen years of existence of the "thousand-year Reich" would gener- 
ate a proliferation of censuses, statistical investigations, registers of 
foreigners, identity cards, and residence lists that ultimately constituted 
the administrative foundation for the deportations to Auschwitz and the 
other death camps. Over time, these diverse methods of "embracing" 
(erfassen) the German population, and especially certain "negatively 
privileged status groups" within it, became intimately linked to the pass- 
port system. The reinforcement of "external" forms of identification by 
"internal" had important ramifications for many Jews who sought to 
leave Germany to escape Nazi oppression. 

Despite the regime's outspoken antipathy toward Bolshevism, the 
first major move by the National Socialist government in the direction of 



a firmer embrace of the German population bore remarkable similari- 
ties to that taken only two-and-a-half years earlier by the Soviets. On 
1 June 1935, the regime reintroduced a type of internal passport known 
as the "work-book." The immediate purpose of the work-book was to 
permit the more effective allocation of labor by the regime. Initially, 
possession of this document applied only to the practitioners of skilled 
occupations in which labor shortages existed, but it quickly spread to 
other areas as well. Together with the registry based upon all work-books 
issued, the little booklet documented the working life of the bearer, 
changes of job, periods of unemployment, and any alleged breaches of 
work contracts. Through the work-book system, not just the unem- 
ployed, but all Germans could theoretically be put under surveillance in 
the interest of the well-planned insertion of labor power where the 
regime wanted it most. The government later extended this system, 
refined to keep track of changes of address, to the entire population 
immediately before the Second World War in the form of the "people's 
registry" (Volkskartei) . ss 

Around the same time, a number of German states required that beg- 
gars and vagabonds be in possession of a Vagrants' Registration Book 
(Wanderbuch) , a certificate containing a record of the bearer's encoun- 
ters with charities and official agencies responsible for the itinerant 
poor. (Because "tramping" was regarded as a way of life appropriate only 
to men, Registration Books were not issued to women.) Although these 
documents had been in existence for a long time, they did not become a 
requirement until the Third Reich. Failure to produce the necessary 
documents upon the request of the police could result in arrest, which 
in turn might land the offender in a charitable asylum, a work-house, or 
a concentration camp. As in the case of the work-book, the aim of these 
restrictions was to insure that the state would have untrammeled access 
to the labor-power of the unemployed and "work-shy," as well as provid- 
ing the authorities with greater opportunities to check into a person's 
possible criminal background. Despite pressures to create a nationwide 
registry of the homeless population, this never came about, and the 
effectiveness of the Registration Books as a means of surveillance was 
correspondingly limited. After the outbreak of the war in September 
1939, however, their issuance was suspended entirely, as vagrancy was 
simply declared illegal. 34 As the strictures on internal movement grew 
more severe, the documentary controls on movement beyond the 
boundaries of the Third Reich became more repressive as well. 

The Nazis gave official expression to the intimate connection 
between internal and external types of registration and documentary 
controls on movement with the "Law on Passports, the Foreigner Police, 
and Residential Registration, as well as on Personal Identity Documents" 



of 11 May 1937. The decree gave to the Interior Minister a free hand to 
reorganize these administrative areas, collectively referred to as the 
"systems of personal identity documents" (Ausweiswesen) . Among the 
prerogatives handed to the Interior Minister was the authority to abolish 
once and for all the 1867 law of the North German Confederation that 
had eliminated passport requirements other than as a temporary, emer- 
gency measure, as well as the series of laws from the First World War and 
the Weimar period that had been instituted under its terms. 35 The 
unceremonious demise of this notable legacy of the late nineteenth- 
century era of relatively free movement heralded developments that 
would help generate both a massive upsurge of refugees and a project 
for controlling movement that ended all movement. 

In order to achieve the desired "seamless overview" of the German 
population and its peregrinations, the regime implemented the Order 
on Residential Registration (Reichsmeldeordnung) of 6 January 1938. This 
was the jewel in the crown of thorns created by the Nazis to track the 
population, and again bore remarkable similarities to the measures 
taken in connection with the introduction of the internal passport in the 
Soviet Union during late 1932. The Fuhrer justified the law on the basis 
of its contribution "to the protection of the Volksgenossen from criminals 
and to facilitating the struggle of the security police against them." In 
the interest of more complete compliance with its regulations, the 
Order made it easier to fulfill them and eliminated any fees for doing so. 
At the same time, penalties for failure to comply were stiffened, includ- 
ing jail terms. The registration forms of all non-Germans were 
automatically forwarded to the aliens authorities. The Order obliged 
the staff of hospitals, youth hostels, and hotels to report their patients 
and guests within twenty-four hours to the proper officials. 36 

Though these registration requirements were hardly novel, they were 
now carried through with an unprecedented thoroughness. Whereas 
before 1938 residential registration requirements had been spotty 
across the country and evading them was a "popular sport," the 
Reichsmeldeordnung created the foundation for the "most complete possi- 
ble embrace (Erfassung)" of the entire population. 37 Access to the Jewish 
population would especially be facilitated. According to one observer 
professionally concerned with such matters, the Reichsmeldeordnung 
would henceforth make it "possible to track completely both the exter- 
nal and the internal movements of the Jews (Glaubensjuden) ." 38 The 
noose was tightening. 

Measures such as these were at the heart of the Nazis' efforts to 
embrace the German population and to monitor the movements of those 
deemed enemies by them, especially Jews. The essence of these efforts was 
the requirement that some form of documentation be produced in order 



to fulfill satisfactorily the reporting obligations. The police chief of 
Hamburg, where these measures had been carried out most effectively 
before their adoption as the Reich standard, described the benefits of the 
system this way: 

The principal advantage of the Hamburg registration system consists in 
the so-called personal identification obligation (Ausweiszwang) . This 
means that all persons wishing to register themselves and their depen- 
dents must identify themselves through official documents. Accordingly, 
the registry, which can be kept current by way of regular updates from the 
local registry offices (Standesdmter) , can be used without further ado for 
administrative purposes such as the issuance of passports, driver's licenses, 
residence permits . . . etc. 39 

The Reichsmeldeordnung thus facilitated a nationwide, homogeneous 
approach to insuring that all persons had been captured in the official 
web of identification apparatuses. 

Not coincidentally, an order of July 1938 required Jews by the end of 
that fateful year to acquire an identification card (Kennkarte) indicating 
their Jewishness. When they did so, a black mark was to be added to 
their cards in the files of the "people's registry." 40 In a further indication 
of the direction things were taking, the other group required by the July 
1938 law to have an identification card in their possession were men 
liable for military service. 41 Shortly thereafter, the Foreigners' Police 
Order (Auslanderpolizeiverordnung) generously stated that foreigners 
were welcome in the territory of the Reich as long as they demonstrated 
that they were "worthy of the hospitality accorded them." The Order 
authorized the expulsion, by force if necessary, of all foreigners from 
German territory; there were no means of legal redress for an expulsion 
order mandated under its terms. 42 This directive above all affected the 
Jews who, after all, had either never acquired citizenship or had been 
stripped of their citizenship in consequence of the Nuremberg laws. The 
Nazi effort to expel these "enemies of the people" was intensifying. 

These developments occurred in the immediate aftermath of the 
League of Nations conference in Evian, France that had been convened 
in early July 1938 to address the growing problem of refugees from 
Germany and Austria and their difficulties in finding safe havens of 
settlement. The problem of emigration from German-dominated areas 
became more severe after the Anschluss of Austria in March, not least as 
a result of the enthusiasm of Untersturmfuhrer Adolf Eichmann, who had 
been developing plans for large-scale expulsion of Jews since at least 
mid-1937. The Nazis' efforts to push the Jews out of their domains soon 
led to the creation of a Central Office for Jewish Emigration under 
Eichmann's direction. 43 But the Nazis' plans to expel the Jews were not 
necessarily consistent with an international system that reserved the 



right to admit only those whom they chose to admit, a fact that may ulti- 
mately have helped to push the Nazis toward extermination as the "final 
solution" of the "Jewish problem." 

Although all of the delegations to the Evian conference expressed 
their commitment to humanitarian assistance, only the Dominican 
Republic made a concrete offer of admissions: its representatives hoped 
that they could find agricultural settlers for some of the more unpromis- 
ing areas of their country. Otherwise, the governmental representatives 
at the conference mainly bemoaned the degree to which their countries 
had been "saturated" with refugees and pointed to ongoing problems of 
unemployment and economic malaise in the course of drawing sharp 
limits around their ability to accept more refugees. The conference's 
main accomplishment was the creation of the Intergovernmental 
Committee on Refugees (IGCR), an organization that came into being 
largely because the United States did not wish to work under the aegis of 
an organization - the League of Nations - that it had never joined. The 
results of the conference were generally regarded as a disappointment. 44 

Soon after the Evian conference, the problem of refugees from 
German-controlled Europe would worsen dramatically. The Reich 
expanded its reach on 1 October by its occupation of the Sudetenland, 
in the frontier territory of Czechoslovakia. This extension of Nazi rule 
also had the effect of bringing more Jews under German domination, of 
course, and thousands of the country's Jews sought to flee their new 
overlords. At the Evian conference, a Swiss police official had objected 
to the surge of Jewish immigration into Switzerland from Austria after 
the Anschluss, to which the Swiss government had responded by impos- 
ing a visa requirement on holders of Austrian passports. After 
discussions with the German government, the Third Reich on 5 October 
required all German Jews to turn in the passports in their possession, 
which the regime then returned to them stamped with a red "J." In addi- 
tion to the special identity cards Jews were required to carry within 
Germany, their travel documents now marked them clearly as Jews when 
they sought to traverse international boundaries. Ironically, by putting 
potential receiving governments on notice that the bearers of these pass- 
ports were "undesirables," this move may well have inhibited the Nazis' 
increasingly strenuous efforts to expel Jews from the Reich. 45 

Indeed, as of the autumn of 1938, only an estimated one third of the 
roughly 500 000 Jews counted in Germany (Altreich) as of mid-1933 had 
left the country, despite a growing catalog of laws designed to exclude 
Jews from German society and make their lives there more unpleasant. 
Yet the pressure on Jews to leave intensified further after Kristallnacht, 
the "night of broken glass," on 9 November 1938. After this outbreak of 
violence and destruction, it became increasingly difficult to sustain the 



belief that the Nazis would be content merely to marginalize and stig- 
matize the Jewish population, and large numbers of Jews now sought to 
leave German-controlled Europe. 

Did the red "J" make it more difficult for Jews to find refuge outside 
Hider's Europe? Over the last twenty years or so, it has become a com- 
monplace that many Jews were condemned to death by the immigration 
barriers and documentary identification requirements raised by many 
countries of Europe and North America during the preceding period, 
and by the unwillingness of most countries to admit Jews as refugees, as 
suggested by the results of the Evian conference. This view is perhaps most 
prominendy associated with the work of the historian David Wyman, but it 
has become widely influential. According to the now standard view, the 
immigration restrictions that emerged from the First World War and their 
strict enforcement during the 1930s in an effort to protect national labor 
markets during the depression consigned many Jews to their deaths 
because they were unable to find a refuge from Nazi persecution. 46 

More recently, William Rubinstein has argued vigorously that the 
notion of "paper walls" surrounding the Western democracies - and the 
broader claim that the democracies could have rescued more Jews in 
various ways, such as by bombing Auschwitz - is an ahistorical myth. 
Rubinstein insists that the "paper walls" argument is misguided for a sim- 
ple reason. According to him, relatively few Jews left Germany before 
Kristallnacht in November 1938 because they believed that this was one 
of those periodic outbursts of anti-Semitism that would soon "blow 
over." But, in contrast to the claims of the critics of Western policies 
toward the Jews, those who did leave Germany found refuge in the 
Western countries without great difficulty. What must be understood, in 
Rubinstein's view, is that after the beginning of the war in September 
1939, the obstacle Jews confronted was no longer that of getting into 
other countries, but rather that of getting out of Nazi-controlled Europe. 

In order to appreciate Rubinstein's argument, 

it is imperative that the Jews of the Nazi Reich must, at all times, be distin- 
guished from the 7.5 million Jews of continental Europe who came under 
Nazi rule between the outbreak of the war and V-E Day. The Jews of conti- 
nental Europe, apart from Germany, were not refugees, either before or after 1939, 
were not subject to Nazi rule prior to the coming of the war, or imagined 
that they would ever be, let alone that they would be murdered in history's 
greatest genocide." 47 

In short, the fundamental distinction is that between refugees (from 
Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland before September 1939) and 
prisoners. For the Jewish prisoners of the Third Reich after 1939, 
Rubinstein argues, the only "rescue" from which they might have bene- 
fited would have come about through the Allies' swifter prosecution and 



conclusion of the war against the Nazis. Contrary to the view of critics 
such as Wyman, Rubinstein insists, the Allies did as much as they could 
(or nearly so) to provide aid and succor to those Jews who actually chose 
to flee while they still had the chance to do so. 

While there is much that is appealing about Rubinstein's interpreta- 
tion, there are also flaws in his argument that render suspect his overall 
conclusions. For example, Rubinstein ignores the fact that, during the 
first years of the Third Reich, the problem of refugees from Nazism 
became sufficiendy serious that the League of Nations moved to inter- 
vene. First, already in 1933 the League created the position of High 
Commissioner for Refugees from Germany, a post first held by an 
American, James G. McDonald, from 1933 to 1935. As a result of German 
opposition to the office's activities, however, the High Commissioner was 
relegated to a separate institution based in Lausanne rather than in 
Geneva, where the League was headquartered. During McDonald's 
tenure, the League debated for years whether it should extend the 
Nansen passport system to refugees from Germany. In the course of these 
discussions, it became apparent that France and Britain were loathe to 
annoy Germany, which they wished to appease, and the idea was eventu- 
ally shelved. With the issue of travel documents for refugees hung up in 
fruidess wrangling, McDonald concentrated his efforts on securing the 
admission of refugees. He ultimately facilitated the placement of approxi- 
mately two thirds of the 80 000 refugees who left Germany between 1933 
and 1935. While that record is not unimpressive, according to these fig- 
ures some 27 000 would-be refugees ended up without a place to go. 48 

McDonald's successor from 1936 to 1939, a Briton named Neill 
Malcolm, pressed the matter of travel documents, however, with the 
result that the League adopted an "Arrangement" in July 1936 authoriz- 
ing governments to issue travel documents to Germans and stateless 
persons coming from Germany who lacked the protection of the German 
government. These provisions applied primarily to Jews who had been 
denationalized in the aftermath of the adoption of the Nuremberg laws. 
This provisional agreement was transformed into a "Convention on the 
Status of Refugees Coming From Germany" in February 1938. In due 
course, these arrangements were extended to refugees from Austria and 
Czechoslovakia as these countries acceded to or fell under Nazi rule. 
Clearly, contrary to Rubinstein's reading of the situation, those in the 
League of Nations concerned with refugee matters believed that there 
was a problem regarding would-be refugees' access to travel documents 
that would facilitate their movement across international space, as well as 
their access to places of refuge more generally. 

Despite this evidence that German and stateless Jews coming from 
Germany and elsewhere confronted serious difficulties in departing 



from or finding refuge outside Hitler's domains, Rubinstein rejects the 
view that German Jews were ultimately condemned to death at German 
hands by the "paper walls" that kept them out. It is true, as Wyman 
showed, that between 1933 and 1945 the quotas for immigrants from 
Germany (and Austria) were never filled - before 1937 they never 
exceeded a quarter of the allotment. It is also true that this fact may be 
attributable in part to anti-Semitic attitudes on the part of the consular 
officials evaluating the visa applications of Jews in continental Europe. 
But in order to evaluate satisfactorily whether other countries took in 
Jewish refugees when they presented themselves as asylum seekers, it is 
necessary to consider whether the quotas may have been under-filled 
because Jews did not seek to take refuge abroad. On the basis of this 
kind of evidence, Rubinstein argues that the reason the immigration 
quotas to the United States from Germany and Austria remained 
unfilled before 1939 was that very many Jews failed to "read the hand- 
writing on the wall" and chose not to leave Germany for the United 
States in large numbers until after Kristallnacht in November 1938. 49 

Perhaps the most sensible conclusion to draw from this debate is this: 
like many other groups, Jews confronted significant barriers to admis- 
sion into countries of potential safe haven during the 1930s, and the 
"paper walls" that had been erected during the early interwar period 
complicated the negotiation of international space for all of them. With 
the development of new bureaucratic apparatuses since the First World 
War, states had become much more effective at identifying possible 
interlopers and using documentary restrictions to keep out those they 
did not wish to admit. And surely anti-Semitism played some role in 
keeping Jews out of potential receiving countries. But this does not in 
itself justify the claim that the Allied states could have done a great deal 
more than they actually did to "rescue" Jews from the Nazis. 

During 1939, the apparatus for "embracing" the population of the 
Reich moved into high gear. In order to facilitate the identification of 
"racial enemies," after 1 January, all Jews whose given names did not 
appear in the "Catalog of Jewish First Names" were required to rein- 
scribe at the Registry Office (Standesamt) with the name "Israel" or 
"Sarah." 50 In February of 1939, as noted previously, the regime ordered 
the expansion of the "people's registry," which henceforth was to 
include an entry for each and every person in the population. 
According to the bureaucratic administrators charged with keeping the 
registry, its purpose was to enable the Nazi regime to mobilize the entire 
population in the event of war. 51 Then, in May, the Third Reich carried 
out a census that constituted "the capstone in the 'embrace' of the Jews." 
In addition to the census form itself, a supplementary card introduced 
at the behest of the Wehrmacht and the security forces under Reinhard 



Heydrich was to be filled out as well. The purpose of the card was to give 
the security forces a clearer overview of the Jewish population and the 
army a better picture of the training of its potential inductees. 52 

The Reich Statistical Office, which carried out the census, thus per- 
formed vital services in fulfilling what Heydrich, after assuming the 
position of Reichsprotektor in Czechoslovakia, bombastically (but not 
altogether inaccurately) described as "the fighting tasks in the adminis- 
trative sector." Heydrich understood that the precondition for what he 
called the "task of achieving the idea" was not merely "a superficial see- 
ing, but rather a thorough grappling with (Befassen) and grasp (Erfasseri) 
of things." 53 To achieve these aims, the tasks of counting, identifying, 
registering, and tracking became central activities of the German occu- 
pying forces wherever they went. 

After the conquest of Poland in early September 1939, the Nazi regime 
stiffened the existing regulations of the Reichsmeldeordnung concerning 
identification and registration and extended them to its newly acquired 
territories. The justification was the usual one that "precise surveillance of 
persons' movements" was essential to the defense of the "fatherland in 
danger." 54 Those taking occupancy of or leaving a dwelling now had to 
report their movements within three days, rather than the previous peace- 
time requirement of one week; foreigners as well as stateless persons, who 
before had been on the same legal footing as Germans in this respect, had 
to register their assumption of new quarters or their departure from old 
ones within twenty-four hours. In response to Gestapo allegations of non- 
compliance by the so-called "Polish-Jewish criminal and political criminal 
element," the penalties for transgression of these regulations were 
stiffened. Thenceforward, according to a letter from the chief of the 
province of Upper Silesia, those in the occupied Eastern territories who 
failed to report themselves to the proper authorities, or who made false 
declarations when doing so, were to be sent to a concentration camp. 55 

With the occupation of Poland in September 1939, of course, the Nazis 
assumed control over a Jewish population of several million, as well as of a 
Slavic people that they regarded as racially inferior. At this point, their 
plans for population engineering and ethnic resettlement of the Eastern 
territories remained uncertain. The ultimate fate of the Jews - that is, the 
meaning the Nazis would give to the notion of a "final solution" of the 
Jewish question - remained indeterminate. Christopher Browning has 
argued that, between the seizure of Poland in 1939 and the invasion of the 
Soviet Union in 1941, the Nazis' plans for the Jews focused on two chief 
projects: their resettlement to the Lublin Reservation (the region 
between the Bug and the Vistula rivers) or the seemingly even more 
bizarre "Madagascar Plan," under which the Jews of Europe would be 
eliminated by shipping them to the remote island off the African coast. 



Yet these undertakings were caught up in a broad project for the 
racial reorganization of eastern Europe, and accordingly at times the 
resolution of the "Jewish problem" had to take a back seat to the dis- 
placement of the Poles or the setdement of ethnic Germans in their 
stead. As a result of the "frustration that had built up over the bottle- 
necks of demographic engineering in eastern Europe" since the 
conquest of Poland, the Madagascar plan came to seem particularly 
appealing. But the implementation of that plan required the defeat not 
just of France - which the Germans achieved by the summer of 1940 - 
but also of Great Britain, and it soon became apparent that this was not 
going to happen very quickly. "The greater the frustration, the lower the 
threshold to systematic mass murder," Browning writes. "Thus the 
Madagascar Plan was an important psychological step toward the Final 
Solution." By the time of Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the 
USSR) in mid-1941, the Nazis' frustration about the Jewish question had 
reached boiling point. As they overran more territories with large Jewish 
populations, their tendency to equate "Jewish" and "Bolshevik" facili- 
tated their treatment of Jews in the same manner that they treated 
Bolsheviks: summarily. The Einsatzgruppen were unleashed, and by 
October plans had been adopted to deport Jews to death camps 
equipped with poison gas facilities. During the same month, Jewish emi- 
gration from Germany was finally forbidden. The extermination of 
European Jewry had begun. 56 

The Nazis had by this time simplified the process of identifying and 
"embracing" the Jews by reverting to one of the oldest methods of anti- 
Jewish discrimination - the requirement that they were a distinguishing 
mark, the Yellow Badge. First introduced in the Government General of 
Poland in late 1939, a decree of 1 September 1941, mandated that the 
Yellow Badge was henceforth to be worn by all Jews above the age of six 
in Germany, the Polish provinces, and the Protectorate of Bohemia and 
Moravia. This measure was in part a response to the fact that, as a French 
police official pointed out, travel restrictions on Jews and "Negroes" 
introduced by the Nazis in France could only be fully enforced against 
the latter because of their relatively easy identification on the basis of 
skin pigmentation. The badge facilitated the isolation and segregation 
of Jews "as well as strict control of their movements and activities." 57 

The imposition of the badge met with significant resistance not only 
in the Western occupied countries, especially in France, Holland, and 
Belgium, but also in Czechoslovakia. Even in Germany, where the order 
requiring Jews to wear the badge was widely welcomed by the "Aryan" 
population, it also generated considerable consternation, especially 
among practicing Christians. The severe penalties for transgressions of 
the requirements, however, resulted in more thorough compliance with 



the regulations in the East. With the identification and segregation of Jews 
made easier by this distinguishing mark, the deportations from Germany 
to the East began on 16 September 1941. 58 The thoroughly "modern" pro- 
ject of a systematic extermination of European Jewry, which depended to 
a great extent on the mobilization of advanced administrative means, also 
relied for its implementation on some of the most "reactionary" methods 
of discriminating between "us" and "them." 59 

Just as there was opposition to the Jewish star, the Nazis' more mod- 
ern attempts to achieve a firm grasp on the Jewish population met with 
resistance as well. Despite their efforts, the Nazis were unable to achieve 
full compliance with the requirements regarding identification papers 
and registration with the authorities. In 1942, Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler 
complained that significant portions of the population failed to carry 
official documents with photographs, such as passports and identity 
cards, as they were required to do by law. In response, he announced his 
intention to undertake a renewed campaign to remind the populace of 
these requirements. 60 

Beyond noncompliance with such regulations, resistance to the 
German occupation in other countries sometimes focused directly on its 
bureaucratic methods. For example, cases of arson and raids on the 
offices responsible for population registration swelled during 1943 and 
1944 in the Netherlands. In January 1944, Himmler received a letter 
from a high official of the occupation regime there reporting 
that attempts to update the population registry had resulted in the dis- 
tribution of critical leaflets, attacks on registry officials, and the 
pronouncement of death sentences against them. 61 It was not lost on 
occupied and terrorized populations that the systems of identification 
and registration were vital to the implementation of the Nazis' designs 
for mastery of Europe and its racial purification. 

Passports, identification cards, population registries, and visible distin- 
guishing marks intended to keep watch on and control the movements of 
Germany's population came to constitute an interlocking if not flawless 
system of registration and tracking. These mechanisms facilitated the 
task of locating and monitoring Jews, with the ultimate result that they 
were available for extermination. All this supports Rubinstein's notion 
that, after September 1939, the Jews of Europe were prisoners of Hitler's 
regime. In a dramatized version of the last days of Adolf Eichmann, play- 
wright Heinar Kipphardt has the Israeli prison warden ask Adolf 
Eichmann, "as an expert," what the Jews could have done to avoid the 
fate the Nazis had planned for them. Eichmann's response: 

Disappear, disappear. Our vulnerable point was if they had disappeared 
before we had been able to register (erfassen) and concentrate them. Our 



commandos were terribly understaffed, and even if the police in the vari- 
ous countries had helped us with all their strength, the Jews had at least a 
fifty-fifty chance. Massive flight would have been a catastrophe for us. 62 

As we have seen, especially after 1937, the Nazis did their best to avert 
such a "catastrophe." 

In order to carry out their "final solution" - whether that entailed 
expulsion, as at first, or extermination - the Nazis needed, and did their 
utmost to build up, a massive administrative machinery for identifying 
and "embracing" the population. These identification mechanisms 
helped both to keep the war machine fed with recruits and to identify 
and separate off enemies of the Volk, particularly the Jews. Documents 
such as identity cards and passports were essential elements of this 
system, and while it is not clear that Jews suffered disproportionately 
from the "paper walls" erected by the countries of the North Atlantic 
world after the First World War, their negotiation of international space 
was hardly facilitated by those barriers, either. These facts would not be 
forgotten in postwar German debates about passport controls, nor in 
broader European efforts to reduce the stringency of documentary 
controls on movement. 


The close of the Second World War confronted those involved in the reg- 
ulation and facilitation of movement with a daunting task. 63 The number 
of Europeans displaced by the Second World War has been estimated at 
approximately 30 million, of whom some 11 million found themselves 
outside their countries of origin at war's end. Postwar conflicts in Eastern 
and Southern Europe, in turn, generated further flows of refugees. A 
considerable number of these massive groups of migrants were settled 
relatively expeditiously. This was mainly because of the dynamics of the 
largest flow: millions of ethnic Germans, whether old settlers or new, who 
were retreating with the German armies or expelled from several coun- 
tries in Eastern Europe were accommodated in one of the two states then 
taking shape in the Allied-occupied zones of Germany. Yet many others, 
not least about two million subjects of the Soviet regime who often had 
little sympathy for Communism and hence little desire to return to 
Stalin's domains, remained outside their home countries and in need of 
assistance to negotiate their way across international space. 

Already during the Second World War, international efforts were 
undertaken to facilitate the movements of the enormous wave of 
refugees uprooted by the conflict. Earlier exertions led by the American 
and British governments were consolidated in 1943 under the aegis of 



the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). 
That agency, however, fell prey to the bickering among the Second 
World War allies that would soon come to be known as the Cold War. 
Although UNRRA certainly helped in the process of repatriating many 
displaced persons after the war, a considerable portion of the responsi- 
bility was handled, however unwillingly, by the Allied military forces. 
According to Michael Marrus, the Allied command repatriated 5.25 mil- 
lion displaced persons to Western European countries during May and 
June 1945 alone, a rate of more than 80 000 per day. 64 The documentary 
obligations that DPs had to fulfill are likely to have been relatively mini- 
mal in a situation of this magnitude. 

Soon thereafter, the International Refugee Organization (IRO) was 
established in 1946 to minister to the needs of "the last million" 
European refugees, and was scheduled to go out of existence in 1951 
upon completion of that task. Like the UNRRA, the IRO became entan- 
gled in Cold War disputes reflecting divergent foreign policy strategies 
of the two superpowers that would profoundly shape subsequent inter- 
national responses to refugee problems. The IRO was succeeded after 
the creation of the United Nations in 1949 by the UN High 
Commissioner's Office for Refugees (UNHCR) . 

Despite the fact that two major refugee crises outside Europe had arisen 
since V-E Day - some 14 million persons set in motion by the partition of 
India and Pakistan in 1947, and several hundred thousand Palestinians 
associated with the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 - UNHCR was at 
first exclusively concerned with displaced Europeans. A separate institu- 
tion, the UN Relief for Palestinian Refugees, was created to deal with the 
latter crisis, and ad hoc arrangements were developed to deal with other 
refugee crises elsewhere. Gradually, however, UNHCR came to regard the 
rest of the (non-Palestinian) world as its mandate. In its founding charter, 
UNHCR took over the novel notion adopted by the IRO that individual 
refugees had rights irrespective of their nationality, a feature that consti- 
tuted a major shift from the prewar approach that treated refugees in 
terms of their membership in national groups. At the same time, in order 
to reduce the range of its jurisdiction, UNHCR was relieved of responsibil- 
ity for the stateless. 65 Under the terms of the Refugee Convention of 1951, 
contracting states are enjoined to issue travel documents to refugees and 
asylum-seekers in their territories who might find themselves in need of 
such documents. In certain circumstances, the International Committee 
of the Red Cross (ICRC) may issue an emergency one-way travel docu- 
ment for humanitarian purposes, although foreign-country immigration 
officials are not obliged to recognize such documents. 66 

Efforts to reduce the severity of the passport regime inherited from 
the interwar period were being made at the national level as well during 



this time. Even before the war had officially ended, Belgium and 
Luxembourg had exchanged notes aimed at reducing passport controls. 
By 1950, the Netherlands joined this effort and nationals of the three 
countries were given the right to travel among them with only a national 
identity card. In mid-1954, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland 
agreed that their nationals could travel without passports or other travel 
documents when traveling among those countries, and that such 
persons no longer needed to be in possession of a residence permit 
when residing in a Scandinavian country other than their own. These 
arrangements were extended by a 1957 Convention that provided for 
the elimination of passport controls at the internal frontiers of these 
Scandinavian countries (which thus implicidy extended the freedom of 
movement to non-nationals traveling among these countries). 67 These 
agreements had wider influence, encouraging the Tourism Committee 
of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (forerunner 
of the OECD) to conclude "that the final goal, the pure and simple 
abolition of passports, is not merely a Utopian aim." 68 

In the interim, one of the main objectives of the advocates of liberal- 
ized movement in Europe was the creation of a European passport. The 
proponents of a European passport have had to fight tooth and nail 
against the tribunes of national sovereignty, however. The Secretary- 
General of the Council of Europe, a strong supporter of the idea of a 
European passport as a symbol of a unified continent, inquired of 
Europe's national governments in the early 1950s as to their position 
concerning the possibility of creating such a document. The replies he 
received indicated that those governments were not yet prepared to 
forgo their national passports, but would prefer to see simply a stan- 
dardization of national passports. Accordingly, the Council's Committee 
of Experts on Passports and Visas abandoned the broader aim of a 
European passport for the time being, and instead submitted proposals 
to the Committee of Ministers toward the more limited end of standard- 
ization in March 1952. 69 As late as the mid-1980s, the CDU government 
of West Germany felt compelled to defend the incipient introduction of 
the European passport by reminding the Bundestag that it would remain 
"legally a national passport." 70 

Similarly, the advocates of passportless travel within Europe have 
struggled mightily against the surveillance preoccupations of the police 
bureaucracies. In response to the negative replies of the member 
governments to the Council of Europe's inquiries regarding the cre- 
ation of a European passport, the Council asked its Legal Committee to 
assess the effectiveness of the existing system of passport controls. In its 
1953 report, the Legal Committee suggested that the passport control 
systems of the various states were largely ineffective in achieving control 



over the entry of undesirable persons into their territories and the exit 
of those of their nationals whose departure they wished to hinder, and 
that these purposes could be achieved by other available means in any 
case. The Legal Committee also found the system to be a source of con- 
siderable inconvenience. In view of the delays entailed by passport 
controls at the frontiers of European countries, it concluded that 
"despite the remarkable technical achievements of the twentieth cen- 
tury, the journey from Paris to London by rail and sea could be done in 
less time at the beginning of the century than in 1953. " 71 

The preoccupation with surveillance that was inspired by the notion 
of national sovereignty was strikingly in evidence in the debates over the 
first passport law of the fledgling Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). 
First, the adoption of the new law was a symbolically important element 
of the broader quest for sovereignty of the new German state. The pro- 
posal for a new passport law had been occasioned by the early 1950 
notification by the Allied occupying powers, under whose authority such 
matters had remained since the end of the war, that they were prepared 
to restore this prerogative to the West German government. The Allies 
nonetheless reserved to themselves the right to deny the issuance of a 
passport to those included in the blacklists they were keeping. Although 
these reservations were a matter of particular concern to Communists, 
against whom the blacklists were primarily directed, a number of 
Bundestag deputies and the Interior Minister himself noted that this 
infringement on the authority of the Federal Republic constituted "a 
limitation of our sovereignty which is, over the longer term, incompati- 
ble with partnership on an equal footing." 72 The adherents of this view 
regarded control over the distribution of passports as a central attribute 
of national independence, akin to the authority to issue a unique cur- 
rency. Then as now, state-builders see the authority to issue one's own 
passport as a vital element of sovereignty. 

Against the background of the emerging Cold War, the achievement of 
the sovereignty of a West German state also entailed the hardening of the 
separation between the Federal Republic and the German Democratic 
Republic (GDR), a development that many Germans were reluctant to 
countenance. The Communists of Western Germany were particularly 
loathe to let the two states drift apart, hoping that some settlement could 
be achieved under conditions more favorable to Communist aims. 
Despite its basic commitment to German unity, however, Konrad 
Adenauer's Christian Democrat Union (CDU) had instead chosen to wait 
out the Cold War until such time as a more congenial government came 
to power in East Berlin and paved the way for reunification under non- 
Communist auspices. In the meanwhile, the CDU adopted a strategy 
whereby it accepted the deepening division of the two Germanys while 



trying to avoid conceding the sovereign legitimacy of the East German 
regime. The Hallstein Doctrine, which punished foreign governments 
that established diplomatic relations with the GDR, reflected this funda- 
mental aspect of early West German foreign policy. 

This basic approach to "intra-German" affairs found expression in 
the new passport law in several ways. First, the law's backers insisted that 
East Germans were not required to have passports to enter the territory 
of the Federal Republic from the GDR, because they were not aliens: the 
FRG never conceded the existence of a separate East German citizen- 
ship. Similarly, West Germans were not obliged to have a passport to 
enter the territory of the GDR (though the GDR might require them for 
entry), because it was not held to be "foreign territory." The fundamen- 
tal reason for these provisions, according to the government, was that 
the frontier between the two states was "not an external border, but 
merely a demarcation line of the occupying powers." 73 In view of the fact 
that no peace treaty had been signed to conclude the Second World 
War, this posture was on solid legal ground. 

Second, the government had initially proposed that all persons cross- 
ing a border in either direction between the Federal Republic and a 
foreign country - that is, countries other than the GDR - have a visa in 
order to do so. Critics of the government's version, including the power- 
ful Industrie- und Handelstag (analogous to the American Chamber of 
Commerce), challenged the need for a visa requirement for Germans. 
Ultimately, the Government was able to get agreement only on the 
notion that the Interior Minister was authorized to require, at his discre- 
tion, a visa requirement for foreigners entering and leaving the Federal 
Republic. This arrangement helped to sustain the notion that 
"Germans" East and West remained part of one coherent space of free 
movement, while consolidating more securely the dividing line between 
"Germans" and foreigners. 74 

The issue of the passport's enhancement of the state's surveillance 
capabilities also occupied a prominent place in the debates over the 1952 
law. Again, this was a matter of special concern to the Communists in the 
Bundestag. Communist deputies pointed particularly to the paragraph 
that gave the government the authority, when it deemed "public security 
or the constitutional democratic order" threatened, to mandate special 
conditions for entry or exit from the FRG, as well as the clause permitting 
it routinely to deny passports to those who "endanger the internal or 
external security of the Federal Republic." According to the Communists, 
these clauses would be used principally against them, as could be seen in 
past abuse of such laws. A Social Democratic deputy reinforced these 
claims, asserting that these provisions aimed chiefly at restricting the free- 
doms of Communists even as leading Nazi functionaries had been 



permitted to come and go as they pleased. 75 The Communists had good 
reason for their fears: the United States government had just adopted a 
clause denying passports to Communists in section 6 of the Internal 
Security Act (also known as the Subversive Activities Control Act, or 
McCarran Act) of 1950. 76 

In addition to the restrictions motivated by Cold War concerns, the 
government's proposed law included bizarre throwbacks to restrictions 
on movement typical of the early nineteenth century. Its initial section 
11 proposed penalties, including a possible one-year jail term, for those 
who diverged from the route or destination prescribed in a German visa. 
The aforementioned Social Democrat pilloried the absurd circum- 
stances to which such a clause could give rise with a small tale about a 
German vacationer in Switzerland who, deciding along the way to go to 
Geneva rather than Zurich, as well as to make a little side trip to 
Chamonix in France, would have twice violated the law as first submit- 
ted. 77 The final version of the law imposed these penalties only on 
foreigners crossing the borders of the Federal Republic, or temporarily 
resident within them. 

There was something odd about the government's preoccupation 
with the surveillance of travelers. In the course of his remarks introduc- 
ing the proposed law, the West German Interior Minister - the same 
official who was to be responsible for its implementation - delivered 
himself of a quite radical critique of passport controls. Anticipating the 
above-described findings of the Legal Committee of the Council of 
Europe, the minister averred: 

All the experts essentially recognize that the really dangerous people 
almost always find a way to get in and out. Passport requirements, and 
especially visa requirements, thus result in a heavy burden on the move- 
ment of the broad mass of innocent travelers. An enormous - and largely 
useless - administrative effort is expended trying to get a few wrongdoers 
by issuing millions of passports and visas to innocent people. 78 

Yet the Interior Minister went on to defend the law as necessary to the 
security of the Federal Republic and successfully shepherded it through 
the Bundestag. Apparently no amount of sense could persuade the law's 
supporters that passports were of marginal value (at considerable cost) 
in enhancing public security. The German Interior Minister's remarks 
concerning the inefficacy of passport controls for the "really dangerous 
people" recall the despondency of US Immigration Service inspector 
Frank Berkshire when called upon to implement passport controls 
along a largely unguarded 2000-mile border in the period after the First 
World War: 79 passports can only regulate the movements of those who 
are prepared to subject themselves to passport checks. Those who know 



how to avoid border checkpoints will not need to furnish themselves 
with the legitimate "means of movement." Even if the Interior Minister's 
actions belied his words, it is difficult to imagine anyone in a similar 
position of responsibility dismissing the usefulness of passports in 
today's pervasive atmosphere of "crisis" in immigration matters. 

An earlier immigration "crisis" already loomed on the horizon for 
Great Britain after the close of the war, rooted in the privileged rights of 
access of British colonial subjects to the imperial center. The process of 
freeing colonies that were increasingly regarded as anomalous and unten- 
able gathered steam on the heels of a war that had been fought at least in 
part against the idea of domination by foreigners. With the British 
Nationality Act of 1948, each of the countries of the Commonwealth was 
to set its own citizenship laws, although citizens of Commonwealth coun- 
tries were to enjoy a shared status of British subjecthood (also known as 
Commonwealth citizenship). While each of the Commonwealth states was 
permitted to continue the long standing practice of establishing its own 
citizenship and immigration policies with respect to other member states, 
the UK itself remained open to all comers from its overseas dominions: "it 
was the only one-way street in the commonwealth." 80 

In addition, although the Republic of Ireland was not a member of 
the Commonwealth, it concluded arrangements for a passport union 
with the UK that allowed for passportless travel between the two coun- 
tries of their respective nationals. Finally, in order to ease access to the 
UK to travelers from the countries of northwest Europe, the govern- 
ment adopted in 1960 a facility known as the British Visitor's Card. The 
card, which was printed in England for the British Travel Association, 
was distributed free of charge to travel agencies in the countries with 
which the United Kingdom had concluded an agreement for the docu- 
ment's use. These travel agencies would provide the would-be traveler 
with a Visitor's Card upon request. Agreements to use the Visitor's Card 
were made with Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, 
Switzerland, and the Federal Republic of Germany. The laxity of these 
arrangements, which gave the authority to issue a passport-like travel 
document to people with an economic incentive to encourage travel, 
must have made the UK's borders seem dangerously vulnerable to many 
concerned with such matters. 81 

Efforts to end this vulnerability came first in the form of the 
Commonwealth Immigration Act of 1962. Under the Act, the rights of 
British subjects to enter the UK were substantially limited. It mandated 
that citizens of the Republic of Ireland, British Protected Persons, and 
many Commonwealth citizens became subject to immigration controls. 
As a result of the legislation, only three categories of persons were enti- 
tled to enter the United Kingdom freely: persons born in the United 



Kingdom; persons holding a United Kingdom passport who were also cit- 
izens of the United Kingdom and colonies; and, finally, Commonwealth 
citizens who held such a passport issued in the United Kingdom or the 
Republic of Ireland. The purpose here was clearly to stanch what had 
been a steady inflow of non-white migrant labor from the Caribbean and 
the Indian subcontinent during the 1950s. 82 This legislation is especially 
peculiar in that - as a consequence of the crazy-quilt and jerry-built pat- 
tern of allegiances and privileges characteristic of the Commonwealth - 
it makes possession of a passport in certain cases the foundation for the 
applicability or not of immigration laws, rather than immigration laws 
the basis for the obligation to carry a passport. Underlying this set of 
dispensations was the notion of British subjecthood with close ties to the 
metropolis (viz., Commonwealth citizens who hold a UK passport issued 
in the UK or Ireland) . 

This principle became the foundation for an extraordinary set of 
immigration proposals occasioned by the prospect of the immigration of 
several thousand UK passport holders from Kenya in 1967-68. The 
Kenyan government had announced plans to "Kenyanize" the country's 
economic life, sending the considerable Asian population into a panic 
and into the arms of Great Britain, of which they were nationals. In 
response to the impending arrival of 7000 of these unfortunates, the 
Secretary of State for Home Affairs proposed on 22 February 1968, to 
introduce a bill to bring "under immigration control citizens of the United 
Kingdom holding United Kingdom passports who have no substantial 
connection with this country." This was an inventive but ominous oxymoron 
that would have made refugees of these Commonwealth citizens, for 
they had acquired their UK passports perfectly legitimately in the course 
of the negotiations over Kenyan independence in 1963. Those agree- 
ments had exempted the Asian Kenyans who were UK nationals from 
the terms of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962. 

The Home Affairs secretary was looking down the road, perhaps, at 
over a million people potentially able to enter the UK free of immigra- 
tion controls, but he seems to have grasped the relative novelty, at least 
in a putatively democratic country, of what he was doing. In the course 
of his remarks introducing the bill to the House of Commons, the 
Secretary asserted: "This is a unique situation. There has been no prece- 
dent for it, as far as I know. This will be the first occasion on which 
legislation of this sort has been proposed." It was not exacdy the first 
time such a thing had been proposed, of course. An order of 25 
November 1941 had stripped of their German citizenship all Jews domi- 
ciled abroad and confiscated their property in Germany, making 
refugees of them as well. 83 



The precarious situation of the Kenyan Asians of British nationality 
became especially clear when the government of India, a likely alterna- 
tive destination, made clear that it would refuse them admission, "not by 
way of retaliation but to emphasize [to the UK government] the urgent 
necessity of allowing persons their rights of citizenship irrespective of 
the country of origin." The International Commission of Jurists called 
the Act "racist" and characterized by "unprecedented discrimination by 
creating a category of British citizens deprived of the right to enter the 
territory of a country of which they are nationals." The outcry forced 
the British to back off from parts of this scheme and led them to provide 
vouchers permitting repatriation to the UK to British Overseas Citizens, 
British Subjects (without citizenship), and British Protected Persons 
who were not dual nationals. 84 

Still, the episode made dramatically clear the extreme explosiveness 
of the racial politics of passports in the decolonizing United Kingdom, 
as well as the broader problem of who among the varieties of British sub- 
jects was to have unrestricted access to the territory of the UK The 
British government addressed the matter of access to its territory in the 
Immigration Act of 1971, a comprehensive statute that introduced the 
categories of "patrial" and "non-patrial" and abolished the distinction 
between aliens and Commonwealth citizens that had previously gov- 
erned entry and settlement in Great Britain. Thenceforth, only 
"patrials" had the right to enter Britain, although there were some sub- 
stantial exceptions, such as citizens of member-countries of the EEC. 
The law had significant racial implications, because "patrials" were 
defined in such a way as to include the progeny of white people who 
migrated from Britain to most of its overseas possessions while excluding 
many whose Commonwealth citizenship would once have given them 
access to British soil. Non-patrials wishing to gain entry to Britain were 
required "to obtain a work permit issued by the Department of 
Employment for a specific job with a specific employer for a specific 
period of time." "Non-patrials," in other words, were transformed into 
guest workers. Despite the fact that the law actually expanded the num- 
ber of those eligible for admission to Great Britain, its main target was to 
limit the access of non-whites to the territory. 85 Subsequent experience 
suggests that the law has not been very successful in achieving this aim. 

The issues that provoked a postwar revision of Italian passport law 
concerned not so much getting in but — as usual in Italy - getting out. 
The law as proposed had, in fact, nothing whatever to do with entry into 
Italy by foreigners. Instead, the statute aimed to modernize various 
aspects of Italian passport legislation and to bring that legislation into 
conformity with clauses of the postwar Italian Constitution guaranteeing 



the freedom of citizens to leave and return to Italy. In particular, the law 
sought to remove from the realm of administrative discretion both the 
matter of the issuance of passports to particular persons and that of 
determining where they could go once supplied with a passport. 

With respect to the latter issue, the 1967 law provided that passports 
were to be valid for all countries whose government Italy recognized, 
eliminating the potential for arbitrariness (and the extra work) involved 
in having to list the acceptable countries in each case. This provision 
excluded only four countries from the choice of possible destinations 
for Italians: China, [North] Korea, Vietnam, and the German 
Democratic Republic. The first three spots blacked out on the map are 
likely to have been included in deference to the foreign policy wishes of 
the United States; the presence there of the GDR probably reflected the 
Italian government's reluctance to violate the Hallstein Doctrine, which, 
as noted earlier, called for retaliation by the West German government 
against any country that established diplomatic relations with East 
Berlin. In this as in other respects, the passport law eventually adopted 
in late 1967 derived from Italy's status as a semiperipheral labor 
exporter, especially to Germany and the United States. 

At the same time, references in discussion of the law to the "rapid 
progress of tourism" suggest that Italy's own "economic miracle" was tak- 
ing hold, drawing more Italians into the widening stream of pilgrims to 
the wonders of the world. 86 The 1967 law only rationalized practices that 
had been going on de facto throughout the postwar period, for Italian 
labor had been a critical factor in the postwar economic booms in 
France and Germany. The freedom of Italian workers to take up employ- 
ment in the more developed parts of Europe, undergirded by a 
deepening commitment to free labor mobility in the countries of the 
European Communities, surely contributed to economic improvements 
at home as well. In this respect, changes in Italian passport policies sim- 
ply reflected broader trends toward easier mobility that were afoot in the 
European Community. 

The drive toward greater freedom of movement in postwar Europe 
has been intimately connected with the effort to create a common mar- 
ket, and especially with the desire of the various states to "have recourse 
to manpower available in the territory of any other Contracting Party." 87 
In 1957, article 48 of the treaty creating the European Economic 
Community proposed to eliminate controls on movement within the 
Community for nationals of its member states. Numerous agreements 
toward this end have been adopted in the intervening period in the 
form of bi- or multilateral arrangements as well as by supranational 
organizations such as the Council of Europe, the European Coal and 
Steel Community, the EEC, and the European Union. The so-called 



Schengen Accords of 1985, mandating passportless travel for European 
Community nationals between France, Germany, and the Benelux coun- 
tries, were the instruments ultimately designed to achieve the goal of 
unrestricted, passportless travel within Europe. Other countries have 
joined the accords in the meantime. Yet France, in particular, has been 
persistently skittish about giving up its national passport and reluctant 
about implementing the agreements. 

The Federal Republic of Germany, by contrast, has generally been in 
the forefront of support for the project of European unification. Yet the 
West German government's enthusiasm for introducing the European 
passport, a matter debated in the legislature in the mid-1980s, may have 
had as much to do with the license it provided for introducing machine- 
readable control documents as with its value as a symbol of European 
unity. The government's desire to use this technology, along with the 
intimate relationship between new legislation on passports and personal 
identity cards, provoked a donnybrook debate in the Bundestag. Much of 
the controversy resulted from the presence in German politics of a new 
force that was disinclined to ignore the centrality of personal identifica- 
tion documents to the functioning of Nazism, namely the Greens. 
Accordingly, a good deal of the discussion swirled around the increas- 
ingly salient issue in German politics of "data protection" (Datenschutz) , 
for the Greens' deputies harshly criticized the extent to which the per- 
sonal information gathered in the course of issuing passports could be 
used for surveillance purposes by the government. In addition, more 
fundamental doubts were once again raised about the effectiveness of 
passport controls in controlling undesirables, among whom terrorists 
were uppermost in the minds of the more conservative deputies. 88 

In the end, however, those eager to stamp out the "terrorist threat" 
got their way, and the Federal Republic adopted machine-readable and 
(allegedly) unfalsifiable passports. A notable intermingling of domestic 
and international pressures underlay the adoption of the law. Personal 
identity cards had become increasingly acceptable as a substitute for a 
passport in intra-European travel, and the West German government 
had already moved toward introducing (putatively) non-falsifiable, 
machine-readable versions of those cards. In consequence, the govern- 
ment was loathe to forgo the "gain in security" thus achieved by allowing 
the passport to remain at a lower technological standard. If it had done 
so, a German traveler exiting from the Federal Republic would have 
been able to leave the country with a document regarded by the author- 
ities as less reliable than the identity cards. 89 

From our current vantage point, perhaps the most striking feature of 
the law and the debate over its adoption was that, like the 1967 Italian 
passport legislation, it had virtually nothing to do with immigration. The 



similarity between the two pieces of legislation stops there, however. As 
noted previously, the Italian regulations, reflecting Italy's subordinate 
position in the regional and global economic system, were primarily 
concerned with facilitating departure. The German law, in contrast, 
expressed a long-standing (if hardly unbroken) preoccupation with 
surveillance and internal security. 

Despite the lack of concern about immigration in the 1985-86 
debates over the new West German passport law, worries about the vul- 
nerability of the outer boundaries of the European Community have 
risen with the loosening of its internal borders. In late 1986, for exam- 
ple, the British Home Secretary, expressing fears obviously rooted in the 
UK's own experience with these matters, proposed the tightening of the 
Community's external controls as internal controls are relaxed. The 
Community responded by announcing the creation of a working group 
to explore these issues. 90 To be sure, as one commentator has put it: 
"The European communities have been instrumental in eroding the 
stringent passport control which has gripped Europe for the last fifty 
years." 91 But this has scarcely meant the end of passport and similar con- 
trols on cross-border movements in Europe. 

Accordingly, one of the most important consequences of regional inte- 
gration in Europe has been a heightened attentiveness to racial 
distinctions, at least on the part of the guardians of national borders. If 
travelers are not routinely required to produce documents demonstrating 
their nationality, and the continent is perceived by many of its inhabitants, 
however anachronistically, as "white," visible markers thought to signal 
membership grow in importance as reasons for suspecting that a person 
may be liable to movement controls as a non-national of the Community's 
member states. Skin color, hair, and the other stigmata of racial identity 
unavoidably move to the fore as means of identifying outsiders. 

This background must be borne in mind if one is to evaluate satisfacto- 
rily the contemporary concern that states may be "losing control" of 
their borders. 92 These claims generally rest on two principal arguments: 
that liberal states are hamstrung by humanitarian concerns such as 
pressures for family reunification and the growing unpalatability of 
restrictive measures such as deportation, and that states lack the admin- 
istrative capacity to control inflows of people. 93 While the arguments 
about humanitarian concerns certainly have some validity, this is hardly 
tantamount to saying that states lack the means to interdict unwanted 
immigrants or to use those means when they wish to do so. 

With the loosening of the internal borders in the European 
Community as a result of the Schengen accords, for example, worries 
about the vulnerability of its outer boundaries have risen sharply and 



corresponding measures have been taken. Indeed, migration scholar 
Anthony Richmond has recently argued that "the most economically 
developed and affluent countries are banding together to protect their 
privileged position in much the same way that Afrikaners and others of 
European descent sought to maintain their dominance in South Africa" 
- not least with a variety of documentary controls on movement. 94 Much 
of the recent concern about unwanted immigration within the 
European Union has been focused on Italy as the perceived "weak link" 
in the Schengen countries' defenses against undesirables. In response, 
Italy recently adopted a new immigration law designed to tighten docu- 
mentary requirements, penalize both illegal immigrants and migrant 
smugglers, and make deportations of illegals more swift and certain. 95 
The continuing importance of national identity in determining access 
to the advantages offered by particular nation-states is amply revealed by 
the fact that those same European states that have been relaxing border 
controls internally remain preoccupied with excluding non-nationals of 
the member-states. 

Moreover, even if they no longer need passports to traverse intra- 
Community frontiers, nationals of the European Union's member states 
still require documentation (typically the national ID card) to demon- 
strate their nationality, precisely because nationality is an ascribed status 
that cannot be established without reference to documents. Because the mem- 
ber countries of the Community are eager to deny access to their 
territories to non-nationals of its member states, the necessity of being 
able to establish one's nationality remains in force. Indeed, the persis- 
tendy disqualifying, rights-limiting character of a passport as a marker of 
nationality has led to the growing phenomenon today of people destroy- 
ing their documents in a desperate attempt to gain access, via the asylum 
process, to countries that have otherwise closed off access to people of 
their nationality. 96 

If anything, the documentary controls and other bureaucratic 
defenses that states have erected against unwanted migration are con- 
stantly being strengthened and rationalized. In this respect, the activities 
of the International Civil Aviation Organization - an agency formed in 
1944 to facilitate air travel and that now includes some 182 member- 
countries - are of considerable importance. Country representatives to 
the ICAO meet regularly to try to standardize travel documents and 
upgrade them technologically. The organization has been particularly 
eager to encourage its member states to adopt machine-readable pass- 
ports and visas, which contribute to "speeding up clearance operations, 
increasing security and providing additional safeguards against alter- 
ation or counterfeiting of identity information." By 1991, some 35 
million of these ICAO-designed documents were in circulation among a 



number of states, "and their use is spreading rapidly." 97 There is litde 
evidence that states are prepared to abandon documentary require- 
ments of some kind, precisely because such restrictions can be used 
flexibly to regulate movement in response to fluctuating political and 
economic exigencies. 

The existence of migration controls profoundly influences the likeli- 
hood, and thus the actual incidence, of migratory movements, though 
this broad structural feature of the international system tends to disap- 
pear in discussions of immigration control focused on short-term 
analyses of immigration flows. In a rejoinder to those who have argued 
that states are losing control of immigration, Brubaker has written: 

In global perspective, the very institution of citizenship, tying particular per- 
sons to particular states by virtue of the morally arbitrary accidents of birth, 
serves as a powerful instrument of social closure and a profoundly illiberal 
determinant of life chances. True, states are open at the margins to citizens 
of other states - but only at the margins. Seen from the outside, the pros- 
perous and peaceful states of the world remain powerfully exclusionary. 98 

The monopolization by states of the legitimate means of movement has 
hardly disintegrated, and there seems little doubt that migratory move- 
ments would grow dramatically if it were to do so." 

While it may be true that advancing international human rights 
norms increasingly commit countries to granting the same civil and 
social (though not political) rights to those merely resident in their ter- 
ritories as those accorded their full citizens, 100 this development does 
not necessarily signal the "decline of citizenship" 101 for most people. 
These arguments primarily concern the access to rights only of immi- 
grants, not of the main stock of the populations that constitute and 
replenish the bodies of citizens that constitute states. Such arguments 
therefore tend to overstate the significance of what are, in fact, relatively 
marginal phenomena. From this point of view, it seems quite exagger- 
ated to claim that, "in terms of its translation into rights and privileges, 
[national citizenship] is no longer a significant construction." 102 

Even if this were true, it would not necessarily be a desirable develop- 
ment. For all the evil that nationalism has caused in the world, the 
original promise of the nation-state - that is, before what Arendt called 
the "conquest of the state by the nation" 105 - was to give birth to a broad 
community of at least putative legal, political, and eventually even social 
equality. 104 The contemporary erosion of "Fordist" welfare regimes at 
the same time that states are said to be "losing control" of their borders 
suggests that the deterioration of reasonably well-bounded "communi- 
ties of character" may go hand in hand with a decline in the sense of 
"mutual aid." 



Michael Walzer has noted that "to tear down the walls of the state is 
not ... to create a world without walls, but rather to create a thousand 
petty fortresses." 105 One might argue that this is precisely what we 
observe today with the spread of gated communities - "fortified 
enclaves" that recall the walled cities of post-Carolingian Europe - across 
the United States, in Latin America, and elsewhere. 106 The state monop- 
olization of the legitimate means of movement may be giving way to the 
return of the private regulation of movement, rooted in the ownership 
of property within well-fortified and privately policed enclaves. This 
appears to be the drift of developments; there are now estimated to be 
some 20 000 gated communities in the United States, up from a near- 
zero figure only thirty-five years ago. 107 If it is, passports - a product of 
the political rather than the economic determination of community 
membership - may give way to money as the relevant form of "identifi- 
cation" that permits access to specified territories. Should this scenario 
come to pass, we would indeed be witnessing the advent of "post- 
national membership." 




I have tried to demonstrate in the preceding pages that identification 
documents such as passports have played a crucial role in modern states' 
efforts to generate and sustain their "embrace" of individuals and to use 
this embrace to expropriate the legitimate "means of movement." We 
have witnessed over the last two centuries a shift in the "reach" of docu- 
mentary controls on movement from relatively small-scale spaces 
(municipalities) in dynastic states to "national" spaces and, more recently, 
to the "suprastate" level of the European Union. The documents involved 
have been critical to state-building activities in that they identify who is 
"in" and who is "out" in membership terms, and thus help distinguish who 
may make legitimate claims to the rights and benefits of membership. 
Here I explicate in greater detail the nature of the different types of such 
documents and analyze their relationship to states' assertion of a 
monopoly on the right to regulate people's movements. 

Such documents come in three basic varieties. Clearly, (external) 
passports and internal passports or "passes" are not the same thing, 
although the former appears to have evolved out of the latter to a signif- 
icant degree. External or international passports, most familiar today to 
those from "liberal-democratic" countries, are documents associated 
with movement across international state boundaries. They ordinarily 
constitute prima facie evidence of the bearer's nationality. In contrast, 
internal passports or passes are designed to regulate movements within 
the jurisdiction of a state. The identification card, common to societies 
on the European continent and to those that have endured colonial 
domination by Europeans, constitutes a "mixed" type, lying between the 
other two in terms of its role in control over movement and in securing 
citizen access to privileges and benefits. 



The legal implications of the differences between "internal" and 
"external" passports are far-reaching. The right to leaveand return to one's 
country is a prerogative that has come to be widely accepted in interna- 
tional human rights law, even if that law is often ignored in practice. The 
very enunciation of such "rights," it should be noted, indicates the extent 
to which states and the state system have expropriated and monopolized 
the legitimate means of movement in our time. In contrast to the widely 
recognized right to leave and return, the right to move within one's coun- 
try is a matter of the domestic law of sovereign states, subject only to the 
relatively weak and largely unenforceable strictures that may be imposed 
by human rights norms and conventions. Despite the emergence of a 
greater propensity to intervene militarily in the internal affairs of states 
in recent years, it remains true that "once a population is incorporated 
into complete citizenship, a nation-state is given almost complete author- 
ity to subordinate the population: It can expropriate, kill, and starve, with 
relatively little fear of external intervention."' Needless to say, this author- 
ity extends to nation-states' control over the movements of persons 
within their borders as well. 

Most familiar to and accepted by people today is the right of states to 
control entry, a prerogative that has come to be understood as one of the 
quintessential features of sovereignty. It is important to note, however, 
that the widespread recognition of this prerogative is a fairly recent devel- 
opment. Recall that in his survey of the international legal opinion 
prevailing during the period immediately preceding the First World War, 
a German analyst of the international passport system, Werner 
Bertelsmann, was unable to muster any consensus for the view that states 
had an unequivocal right to bar foreigners from entry into their territory. 2 

Still, although they have come to be governed by different bodies of 
law, passports and passes share the function of regulating the move- 
ments of people within and across delimited spaces, thereby affirming 
states' control over bounded territories and enhancing their embrace of 
populations. Identification cards, by contrast, are not normally, or at 
least not primarily, used to regulate movement, but simply to establish 
the identity of the bearer for purposes of state administration and of 
gaining access to benefits distributed by the state. Let us examine each 
of these documents in turn. 


The contemporary international passport is primarily an expression of 
the attempt by modern nation-states to assert their exclusive monopoly 
over the legal means of movement. But the passport cannot be reduced 
exclusively to a mechanism of state control, even if this is certainly its 



principal function today. For in addition to enhancing bureaucratic 
domination over persons and territories, the passport vouchsafes the 
issuing state's guarantee of aid and succor to its bearer while in the juris- 
diction of other states. Possession of a passport thus constitutes ipso facto 
evidence of a legitimate claim on the resources and services of the 
embassies or consulates of the issuing state - not to mention, in extreme 
cases, on its military power. 

For the traveler, the modern passport also functions as a laissez passer, 
bearing witness to the document's partial origins in diplomatic practice. 
Passports issued by the United States, for example, carry the following 

The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all 
whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States 
named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to 
give all lawful aid and protection. 

Individual travelers have thus been transformed into quasi-diplomatic 
representatives of particular countries, simply because the issuing state 
has usurped the capacity to authorize movement and thus "embraced" 
the traveler as a citizen-member of the nation-state. 

These ambiguities of passports indicate that these documents cannot 
be regarded merely as a means of governmental control. To use again 
the words of the United States passport, the "passport is a valuable citi- 
zenship and identity document. It should be carefully safeguarded. Its 
loss could cause [the bearer] unnecessary travel complications . . ." 
Modern passports, like their predecessors such as safe-conducts and lais- 
sez passers, facilitate movement into and out of spaces controlled by 
others than one's own sovereign. The ambiguous significance of the 
passport is suggested nicely by the fact that, in the United States, pass- 
ports are issued by the Department of State (our "Foreign Ministry"), 
while passports are inspected upon entry by the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service, a branch of the Justice Department. 

Despite these ambiguities, state control over individual movement 
is clearly the predominant purpose of passports today. The functions 
performed by the passport in contemporary interstate travel may be 
described as follows. 


Routine travel across international borders involves a three-part process. 
First, the individual must depart his or her state of origin. Permission to 
leave one's country is by no means a foregone conclusion for people 
from many lands, despite the widespread recognition of such a right in 
international law. 3 Subjects of a state cannot automatically assume that 



they have the right to travel abroad, a situation both manifested and 
exacerbated by the fact that most states now require passports for depar- 
ture from their domains. Because passports are also normally required 
for entry into other countries, the right to a passport from one's own 
government is virtually synonymous with the right to travel abroad. For 
example, a 1967 decision by the Supreme Court of India holding that 
Indian citizens have a constitutional right to travel abroad also held that, 
in consequence, the government had no prerogative to withhold a pass- 
port from any citizen who requested one, for such withholding would 
have nullified the basic right. 4 Consistent with this sort of ruling, most 
citizens of democratic states, at least, have come to assume that they will 
be able to acquire a passport on demand. 

These considerations point to the usual connection between access to 
a passport and national citizenship. A recent German study of passport 
law put the matter as follows: 

Each state may issue passports only to those who stand in a close factual 
relationship to it. As a rule, therefore, passports are issued primarily to citi- 
zens of the state in question. Only in exceptional cases are travel documents 
issued to foreigners who happen to be within the state's territory. 5 

This presumed connection between citizenship and possession of a 
state's passport is, of course, the basis for the colloquial reference to the 
latter as an indication of possession of the former. 

Formal citizenship is not necessarily the foundation of a claim to a 
passport for travel, however. As indicated by the inscription in the United 
States passport quoted above, states may elect to offer passports for inter- 
state travel to their non-citizen nationals (e.g., "denizens" such as resident 
aliens, refugees, asylees, or non-citizen populations over which states hold 
dominion). In principle, states may elect to give passports to anyone they 
choose, restricted only by the terms of international law and agreements 
and by their own legal determinations concerning to whom they want to 
extend their protections while those persons are abroad. According to a 
leading expert on international migration law, in fact: 

[S]tate practice in the issuance of passports is so varied . . . that it is impos- 
sible to establish a connection in international law between the issuance of 
a passport and the acquisition or tenure of nationality. The problem is not 
merely that very many states issue travel documents of various kinds to 
travelers of foreign nationality but that some [s]tates issue passports, in 
the strict sense of the term, to aliens of defined classes. 6 

The widespread deviations from the standard assumption of a connec- 
tion between citizenship and access to a passport invalidate this 
assumption, even though the principal function of a passport in inter- 
national law is to demonstrate the identity and nationality of the bearer. 



Because states and the state system have monopolized the power to 
regulate international movement, persons must possess a passport 
regardless of its origins of issuance; this situation creates anomalies for 
those who have difficulty in claiming affiliation with a particular state. 

Conversely, states may choose not to grant passports to particular per- 
sons, irrespective of their legal status (citizens, denizens, etc.). States 
that curtail free departure and return generally deny their subjects 
many of the other rights we associate with modern citizenship and 
human rights norms. In 1982, for example, the apartheid-era South 
African courts ruled that access to a passport was a privilege rather than 
a right for both blacks and whites, and that the government could 
revoke any passport without cause or appeal. 7 Yet even nominally demo- 
cratic states have been known to refuse to grant documents for 
international travel to certain groups of their citizens. As noted earlier, 
for example, the State Department gained the authority under the 
terms of the Internal Security Act of 1950 to deny passports for interna- 
tional travel to members of the Communist Party. 8 These examples 
indicate states' interest in monopolizing the authority to grant legal 
passage for political or ideological reasons. 

Beyond the passport itself, a number of countries insist that the inter- 
national voyager acquire an exit visa as evidence of the state's 
acquiescence in the traveler's (emigrant's?) departure. Rulers' fears of 
"brain drain" often underlie such restrictions. As a result, less developed 
countries in particular have frequently argued that they must retain con- 
trol over the departure of their subjects in order to be able to take 
advantage of the expenditures on education and training from which 
those subjects have benefited. 9 Restrictive exit policies are frequently to 
be found, as Zolberg has noted, in countries that impose extraordinary 
tasks on their populations in either political or economic terms: "it is 
nearly impossible to secure compliance with drastic state demands if 
people are able to vote with their feet." 10 Exit visa requirements make 
this form of voting more difficult. 

Freedom of movement and citizenship rights may thus diverge in 
significant and unexpected ways. Modern states have frequently denied 
their citizens the right freely to travel abroad, and the capacity of states 
to deny untrammeled travel is effected by those states' control over the 
distribution of passports and related documents, which have become 
essential prerequisites for admission into many countries. 


Having successfully departed the country of origin, the traveler must 
gain access to a destination country. In an international state system that 
still regards sovereignty as its most fundamental principle, no traveler 



can presume that receiving states will grant access to their soil. 11 At a 
time when substantial but unknown numbers of people become "immi- 
grants" simply by overstaying the legally prescribed duration of their 
stay, limiting ingress into the territory is the best way for states to avoid 
entering into a series of potentially costly obligations to non-nationals. 12 
Passport and visa controls are crucial mechanisms for this purpose, the 
"first line of defense" against the entry of undesirables. Indeed, the 
fundamental purpose of passports from the point of view of interna- 
tional law is to provide to the admitting state a prima facie guarantee that 
another state is prepared to accept an alien that the destination state 
may choose not to admit or to expel. 13 

For the entry portion of the process of international travel, an entry 
visa may be required in addition to the passport. In such cases, the pass- 
port plays primarily the role of a certificate of identification, assuring 
the receiving government that would-be entrants are who they say they 
are. If required, the visa is the document of record authorizing entry. 
Passports have come to be more or less universally required for admis- 
sion to a foreign territory, but they may not suffice in themselves for 
gaining such admission. In other words, they may be necessary but not 
sufficient conditions for legally crossing international borders. 

Just as possession of citizenship in certain countries may present 
barriers to international movement, the lack of a nationality - the condi- 
tion of statelessness - may also pose severe problems for anyone wishing 
to navigate the international state system and its strictures on individual 
movement. In a world in which the legitimacy of the nation-state 
remains quite strong, the lack of a nationality may indeed be a calamity, 
and has led the United Nations to adopt conventions intended to 
reduce the prevalence of statelessness. Dowty dourly concludes, how- 
ever, that "these efforts have not stirred a broad response." 14 The loss by 
the stateless of a community to guarantee their rights has had particu- 
larly profound ramifications for their ability to gain entry into states 
typically defined since the early twentieth century in ethnonational 
terms and requiring documents to regulate who may enter. 


Finally, the traveler wishing to return to his or her country of origin will 
need a passport as unambiguous evidence of eligibility for readmission. As 
a matter of international law, states are required to admit their own citi- 
zens (and only them). This requirement has relatively litde to do with the 
rights of persons as such, however. Rather, the doctrine of "restricted 
returnability" entails that states must admit their own citizens to avoid a 
situation in which the state whose national a person is might frustrate the 
legitimate efforts of another state to expel unwanted aliens. From the 



point of view of the individual, the ever more widely recognized right to 
return to one's own country flows not from rights inhering in the individ- 
ual, but rather from the exigencies of sovereignty in the international 
state system. Just as the passport constitutes prima facie evidence that the 
issuing country will take in the bearer if he or she is denied entry into or 
expelled from the destination country, the document constitutes prima 
facie evidence of a claim to return to the issuing country. 

In the end, therefore, passports are necessary and sufficient not for 
gaining entry to another country but only for returning to one's country 
of origin. Assuming that the document is deemed to be genuine, the 
passport indicates that the bearer has an incontestable right to enter the 
territory controlled by its issuing state. This unexpected fact explains 
the panic that grips international travelers abroad when they discover 
that they have lost their passport in some distant land. Beyond the fact 
that the lack of a passport is likely to complicate travel to any third coun- 
tries, the ill-fated tourist fears especially that return to his or her place of 
origin may be difficult or even impossible in the absence of a passport. A 
lifeline has been cut, and the traveler is adrift in a world in which states 
have monopolized the authority to grant passage. 

The external or international passport thus proves to be a document 
of considerable ambiguity. As the documentary expression of modern 
states' efforts to monopolize the means of legitimate movement, the 
passport concentrates in itself the enormous increase in modern states' 
control over individual existence that has evolved since the nineteenth 
century. At the same time, bearers of these documents are ensured that 
they may avail themselves of the protections that states may provide in 
an uncertain and potentially hostile world. Modern international pass- 
ports thus join together diplomatic functions with mechanisms of state 
control. Their spread and more vigorous enforcement during and after 
the First World War - as nationalist fervor reached its height, opportuni- 
ties for mass travel expanded, and nation-states consolidated their 
control over territories and populations - indicate that the control func- 
tion predominates. Still, if passports were intended purely for purposes 
of state control, they would hardly command such a high price on many 
of the world's black markets. 15 In contrast, states' control over move- 
ment is the more or less exclusive function of internal passports. 


The internal passport or "pass" has few similarities to the international 
passport, with its connotations of access to foreign territories and to the 
protections of the issuing state while in those other jurisdictions. 
Internal passports lack the ambiguity characteristic of the latter as 



documents that both enhance state control and afford their bearers 
various rights and immunities. Instead, the internal passport may be a 
state's principal means for discriminating among its subjects in terms of 
rights and privileges. In particular, passes may be used to regulate the 
movements of certain groups of subjects, to restrict their entry into 
certain areas, and to deny them the freedom to depart their places of 
residence (or of authorized presence, as in the South African mines and 
urban areas during the apartheid period). In the Soviet Union, internal 
passports in combination with the propiska system of housing registration 
restricted the movement and domicile of Soviet subjects, especially 
inhibiting their freedom to take up residence in certain urban areas and 
constraining the departure of collective farmers from the countryside. 16 
As modern states have expanded their administrative capacity to 
embrace the populations resident in their jurisdictions, controls on inter- 
nal movement (and on residence) have sometimes been strengthened as 
well. Nowadays, the use of internal passports to control movement within 
state boundaries bespeaks illegitimate, authoritarian governments lording 
it over subdued or terrorized populations. Internal passports and passes 
constitute a reversion to practices generally abandoned by democratic 
nation-states by the twentieth century. Such states have generally dropped 
requirements that internal movement be specifically authorized in favor 
of a requirement that all persons be in a position to identify themselves to 
the authorities when the latter demand that they do so. The identity card 
has thus assumed much greater importance in such countries than inter- 
nal travel documents perse. 


Identity cards confront us with a documentary "gray zone." They, rather 
than internal passports authorizing movement per se, may be used by the 
authorities to enforce intermittent checks on movement. Those 
required to have such documents (often after the age of sixteen) must 
produce them on the demand of the organs of social order, and failure 
to do so is likely to be a punishable offense. Even in democratic states, 
such identity checks may be used to control access to certain areas, 
although the degree to which such regulation is admissible may be sub- 
ject to legal dispute. Yet such identity documents may also be necessary 
for gaining access to certain rights of democratic participation (e.g., 
voting), public services (e.g., medical care), and transfer payments 
("welfare") . Internal identification documents that may be used by states 
to control movement therefore frequendy share some of the features of 
international passports, enabling their bearers to obtain access to the 
benefits associated with citizenship in a particular state. 



Modern democratic states typically require some kind of identification 
card that is used to regulate movement only sporadically, but that may 
be crucial for acquiring certain benefits of membership (e.g., the 
Personalausweis in Germany; the carte d'identite in France; the driver's 
license or social security card in the United States, although technically 
speaking these are not "ID cards"). In contrast, authoritarian states often 
impose pass controls on movement for significant elements of the popula- 
tion and enforce those controls more regularly and stringently; the 
connection of such documents to the provision of social services or the 
acquisition of the benefits of citizenship is dwarfed by their use for pur- 
poses of social control. It would perhaps be most useful to think of internal 
identity documents as reflecting, together with external and internal pass- 
ports, points on a continuum defined by the efforts of modern states to 
grasp their populations and monopolize control over legitimate move- 
ment. What all of these documents share in common, however, is the use 
of pieces of paper to construct and sustain enduring identities for admin- 
istrative purposes - that is, to enhance states' embrace of individuals. 

Ultimately, passports and identity documents reveal a massive 
illiberality, a presumption of their bearers' guilt when called upon to 
identify themselves. The use of such documents by states indicates their 
fundamental suspicion that people will lie when asked who or what they 
are, and that some independent means of confirming these matters 
must be available if states are to sustain themselves as going concerns. In 
the face of potentially unstable and possibly counterfeit identities, states 
impose durable identities in order to achieve their administrative, eco- 
nomic, and political aims. Passports and other documents authorizing 
movement and establishing identity discourage people from choosing 
identities inconsistent with those validated by the state. 

Documents such as passports and ID cards constitute the "proof of our 
identities for administrative purposes, and permit states to establish an 
enduring embrace of those admitted into their communities and to 
distinguish them from others. Our everyday acceptance of "the passport 
nuisance" 17 and of the frequent demands from state officials that we 
produce "ID" is a sign of the success with which states have monopolized 
the capacity to regulate movement and thus to constrain the freedom of 
ordinary people to come and go, as well as to identify and constrain 
possible interlopers. The state monopolization of the means of legiti- 
mate movement has thus rendered individual travelers dependent on 
state (as opposed to private) regulation of their movements in a manner 
previously unparalleled in human history. In this regard, people have to 
some extent become prisoners of their identities, which may sharply 
limit their opportunities to come and go across jurisdictional spaces. 



Passports and identification documents, the products of elaborate 
bureaucracies devoted to identifying persons and regulating their 
mobility, have made possible this extraordinary transformation of social 
life - a transformation akin to those identified by Marx when he ana- 
lyzed the monopolization of the means of production by capitalists, and 
by Weber when he discussed the modern state's expropriation of the 
legitimate use of violence. To these two, we must add a third type of 
"expropriation" in order to make sense of the modern world - the 
monopolization of the legitimate means of movement by modern states 
and the state system more broadly. While hardly seamless, the monopo- 
lization of the legitimate means of movement by states and the 
international state system as a whole in the modern world has been 
extremely successful in regulating population movements and sorting 
out who belongs where. It has thus been critical to states' efforts to con- 
struct putatively homogeneous "nations," although this is an aim that in 
the very nature of the case is impossible to achieve. 




1 See "Law to Track Foreigners Entering US Postponed," New York Times 
(West Coast edition), 4 October 1998: A4; "Agreement Resolved Many 
Differences Over Policy as Well as Money," New York Times (West Coast 
edition), 16 October 1998: A17. 

2 See Brubaker 1992, Chapter 1; Crowley 1998. 

3 See especially Wiener 1998. 

4 See Soysal 1994. 

5 I have myself been involved in organizing an effort toward this end, although 
the temporal frame and geographic reach ultimately remained more 
restricted than we would have wished; see Caplan & Torpey 2000. 

6 My thinking on this issue has been much influenced by Bull 1995. 


1 Meyer 1987: 53. 

2 See Foucault 1979; 1980b; 1991. 

3 See, e.g., Zolberg 1978; 1983. It seems to me that Zolberg's pleas have only 
recently begun to be heeded; see, e.g., Skran 1995. 

4 See Anderson 1991. Michael Mann (1993: 218) has noted that "Anderson's 
'print capitalism' could as easily generate a transnational West as a commu- 
nity of nations" in the absence of the institutionalization of the latter. 

5 On the "identification revolution," see Noiriel 1991; he develops the notion 
of "The Card and the Code" (1996, Chapter 2). In her work on laws 
relating to naming, Jane Caplan (2000) speaks of the emergence of a 
"culture of identification" during the nineteenth century. 

6 For a comparative analysis of slavery and serfdom as systems of control over 
movement, see Kolchin 1987, especially Chapter 1, "Labor Management." 

7 For an in-depth study of such persons in one country, see Beier 1985. 

8 Polanyi 1944: 104 (my emphasis); see also Chambliss 1964. 



9 For an analysis of the origins of modern poor relief systems, see Gorski 
1996, 1997. On the "nationalization" of poor relief in Germany, see 
Steinmetz 1993. One may well wonder whether recent changes in US 
welfare law that shift responsibility from the federal down to the state level 
have begun to reverse this trend. 

10 On such organizations, see Spruyt 1994. 

1 1 On passport controls in the Soviet Union and China, see Torpey 1997. 

12 On this issue, see Gilboy 1997. 

13 See, for instance, Mann 1993; Skocpol 1978; Tilly 1990. Randall Collins 
used the term "penetration" as a sort of taken-for-granted shorthand for 
understanding the essential activities of modern states in his comments on 
a presentation by Michael Mann at the Center for Social Theory and 
Comparative History, UCLA, 27 January 1997. 

14 See Habermas 1987. 

15 Mann 1993: 60. 

16 Ibid. 61. 

17 See Scott 1998. If I may borrow the metaphor with which Scott describes 
how he and Stephen Marglin arrived at roughly similar views about the 
functioning of states, he and I seem to have taken different trains to much 
the same destination; his train, however, was a "local," whereas mine was an 
"express." That is, Scott explores a variety of ways in which modern states 
have sought to make societies "legible," while I have tried to focus on one 
particular aspect of that effort - namely, identification documents 
deployed for the regulation of movement. 

18 Douglas 1966; 121. 

19 Brubaker 1996: 24; see also Powell & Dimaggio 1991. 

20 Noiriel 1996: 45. 

21 See Brubaker 1992. 

22 Weber 1978: 922. 

23 Brubaker 1996: 16, 19. 

24 Tilly 1990: 25. 

25 Giddens 1987: 47. Leonard Dudley (1991) has noted that writing origi- 
nated (in ancient Sumeria) not as a means of recording speech, but in 
order to facilitate taxation. 

26 See Goffman 1963. 

27 See ibid. 1961. 

28 See Foucault 1979; 1980a. For a critique of the negative assessment of the 
visual faculty in recent French social thought and its attendant attack on 
Enlightenment styles of thought with their emphasis on transparency, lumi- 
nosity, and, well, enlightenment, see Jay 1993. 

29 1996 California Driver Handbook, Department of Motor Vehicles, State of 
California [n.p., n.d.]. My italics. 

30 For a discussion of recent developments in the understanding of surveil- 
lance in modern societies, see Lyon 1994. Lyon's exposition makes clear 
that it is not only states that have an interest in intensified surveillance, but 
private economic entities as well; this book concerns only the way that 


NOTES (PAGES 16-24) 

states make use of and depend upon surveillance techniques in order to 
control movement. 

31 Foucault 1979: 189. 

32 Nordman 1996: 1123-4. 

33 Anderson 1974: 37-8. 

34 Bertelsmann 1914: 17-18. 

35 Raeff 1983: 74, 89-90. 

36 5 R. II, stat. 1, c. 2 (1381) section 7, cited in Plender 1988: 85 n. 12. 

37 See Warneke 1996. 

38 14 Charles II c. 12. This law appears to be what Karl Polanyi refers to as the 
"Act of Settlement (and Removal)." 

39 Bendix 1978: 50 Iff. 

40 Matthews 1993: 1-2. 

41 See Kolchin 1987. 

42 On this process, see Burke 1997; Elias 1978; 1982; Tilly 1990. 

43 See Brubaker 1992: 37. It is suggestive that, at least according to one histo- 
rian, the term "passport" was first attested to in France during this period. 
See Nordman 1987: 148. 

44 Polanyi 1944: 63-7. 1 am grateful to Peggy Somers for reminding me of the 
usefulness of Polanyi's classic for the analysis I am trying to develop here. 


1 See Woloch 1994: 130, 393; see also Woloch 1986. 

2 See Burguiere & Revel 1989: 66; Grossi 1905: 145; Nordman 1996: 1123. 

3 Cobb 1970: 243. 

4 Hufton 1974: 229. 

5 Cahiers des Etats Generaux (Paris: Librairie Administrative de Paul Dupont, 
1868) [hereinafter Cahiers], vol. 4: 759. See also the cahiers of the bourg 
d'Ecouen, Paris hors les murs, Cahiers, vol. 4: 509. 

6 Cahiers, vol. 4: 21. 

7 Lefebvre 1962: 107. 

8 On the Tennis Court Oath, see Lefebvre 1947: 84-5. 

9 Le Moniteur, vol. 2: 22-3. 

10 Greer 1951: 26. 

11 Lefebvre 1962: 180-1. 

12 Collection complete des lois, decrets, ordonnances, reglements, etc., ed. J. B. 
Duvergier [hereinafter Collection complete], vol. 1 (Paris: A. Guyot, 1834): 

13 Le Moniteur, vol. 5, (Jeudi, 29juillet 1790): 242-3. It seems likely that this was 
the same Peuchet who edited and wrote the introduction for the section on 
police- the theory and practice of public administration - in the Encyclopedie 
methodique in 1789. Keith Baker describes Peuchet as a man "passionate in 
his defense of the values of modern society." See Baker 1990: 240 and passim 
I am grateful to Jan Goldstein for pointing out this connection. 


NOTES (PAGES 25-29) 

14 LeMoniteur, vol. 5: 351-2. 

15 Greer 1951: 24. 

16 Lefebvre 1962: 170. 

17 See the "Decret qui ordonne d'arreter toutes personnes quelconques 
sortant du royaume, et d'empecher toute sortie d'effets, armes, munitions, 
ou especes d'or et d'argent, etc." of 21 June 1791 in Collection complete, vol. 
3: 53. Indications of the National Assembly's stunned reaction to the 
announcement of the King's flight can be found in Archives parlamentaires de 
1787 a 1860 [hereafter AP], 1. Serie, vol. 27 (Paris: Societe d'imprimerie et 
librairie administratives Paul Dupont, 1887): 358. 

18 This paragraph and the next are based on the account in Le Moniteur, vol. 
8: 741-3. 

19 Lefebvre 1962: 207-8. 

20 LeMoniteur, vol. 8: 737. 

21 Ibid. 738. 

22 Ibid. 

23 "Decret qui indique les formalites a observer pour sortir du royaume" of 
28 June 1791, in Collection complete, vol. 3: 68-9. 

24 See AP, 1. Serie, vol. 27: 563-4. 

25 Greer 1951: 26; see "Decret du ler-6 aout 1791, relatif aux emigrants," AP, 
1. Serie, vol. 29: 8-89; and "Decret portant abolition de toutes procedures 
instruites sur les faits relatifs a la revolution, amnestie generale en faveur 
des hommes de guerre, et revocation du decret du ler aout dernier, relatif 
aux emigrans, 14-15 septembre 1791," Collection complete, vol. 3: 267-8. 

26 See, for example, Lefebvre 1962: 187-8, 191-2. 

27 Quoted in ibid. 105. 

28 Quoted in Brubaker 1992: 47. 

29 For a discussion of this process, see Guiraudon 1991; Wahnich 1997; n.d. 

30 Noiriel 1996: 46. 

31 On the "departmentalization" of France, see Woloch 1994: 26-31. The quo- 
tation is on p. 27. 

32 For a brief discussion of the consequences of the measures taken in this 
regard until mid-1791, see AP, 1. Serie, vol. 28: 722; this discussion was the 
prelude to the "Decret pour l'execution du tarif des droits d'entree et de 
sortie dans les relations du royaume avec l'etranger, 6 aout (28 juillet et) - 
22 aout 1791," Collection complete, vol. 3: 182-202. 

33 Lefebvre 1964: 295. 

34 Constitution francaise, Collection complete, vol. 3: 241. 

35 One hundred and seventy-five years later, in striking down as unconstitu- 
tional the denial of passports to suspected Communists wishing to travel 
abroad, the American Supreme Court would find that "freedom of travel is 
a constitutional liberty closely related to rights of free speech and associa- 
tion." The principal rulings were handed down in Kent v. Dulles (1958) and 
in Apthekerv. Secretary of State (1964). See Plender 1988: 103; Turack 1972: 11. 

36 AP, 1. Serie, vol. 30:621. 

37 Ibid. 632. 


NOTES (PAGES 30-41) 

38 Greer 1951: 26-7. 

39 "Decret relatif aux emigrans," Collection complete, vol. 4: 14-15. 

40 See Lefebvre 1962: 213-15. 

41 "Arrete pris par le directoire du departement du Nord, le 17 decembre 
• 1791," quoted in Wahnich 1997: 96. 

42 See AP, 1. Serie, vol. 37: 608-9. 

43 Wahnich 1997: 96-7. 

44 AP, 1. Serie, vol. 36: 618; quoted in Wahnich 1997: 107-8. 

45 Quoted in Lefebvre 1962: 217. 

46 "Arrete relatif aux certificats de residence (Extrait du registre des delibera- 
tions du corps municipal, du lundi, 9janvier 1792)," Le Moniteur, vol. 11: 

47 Le Moniteur, vol. 10: 622. 

48 AP, 1. Serie, vol. 37: 149. 

49 Ibid. vol. 38: 14-27. 

50 See Polanyi 1944: 106, 140. Georges Lefebvre has written (1962: 185) that 
"Bentham drew up a plan forjudicial reform, which Mirabeau presented to 
the Constituent Assembly." Bernard Gainot of the Institut de l'Histoire de 
la Revolution francaise doubts this, however (personal communication, 20 
September 1997). The Panopticon is of course the institution for surveil- 
lance and correction about which Foucault would later make so much in 
Discipline and Punish. 

51 See the short biography in Caratini 1988: 379. 

52 Lefebvre 1962: 213. 

53 The previous two paragraphs are based on AP, 1. Serie, vol. 37: 608-9. 

54 The discussion of the proposed passport law on which the following 
account is based can be found in AP, 1. Serie, vol. 37: 691-4. 

55 See "Decret relatif a l'organisation d'une police municipale et correc- 
tionelle, 19-22 juillet 1791," Collection complete, vol. 3: 1 14ff. 

56 AP, 1. Serie, vol. 37: 691-4. 

57 AP, 1. Serie, vol. 38: 38-45. 

58 AP, 1. Serie, vol. 37: 691-4. My italics. 

59 See Soboul 1989: 1089. 

60 The following account is based on AP, 1. Serie, vol. 38: 14-27. 

61 Noiriel 1996: xvii-xviii. 

62 In an article of 22 July 1854 in La Lumiere (p. 156), one Richebourg claims 
to have introduced the idea of the passport photograph. I am grateful to 
Jane Caplan for this reference. 

63 The protagonists mistakenly refer to this statute as the law of 19 janvier 

64 See Caratini 1988: 522. 

65 Lefebvre 1962: 215. 

66 Fussell 1980: 28. 

67 "Decret relatif aux passeports," 1 fevrier- 28 mars 1792, Collection complete, 
vol. 4: 55-6. 

68 This account is drawn from AP, 1. Serie, vol. 38: 14-27. 


NOTES (PAGES 42-46) 

69 "Decret relatif aux passeports," 1 fevrier - 28 mars 1792, in Collection 
complete, vol. 4: 55-6. 

70 "Decret relatif aux passeports," 28-29 juillet 1792, in Collection complete, vol. 

71 On this point, see Brubaker 1992: 67. 

72 "Decret relatif au retablissement de la libre circulation des personnes et des 
choses dans l'interieur," 8 septembre 1792, AP, 1. Serie, vol. 49: 472-3. 

73 See AP, 1. Serie, vol. 50: 149; "Decret relatif a la libre circulation des 
personnes et des choses dans l'interieur," 19 septembre 1792, in Collection 
complete, vol. 4: 470. 

74 See Nordman 1987: 149-50. 

75 Noiriel 1996: xviii; see "Loi que determine le mode de constater l'etat civil 
des citoyens, du 20 septembre 1792," Le Moniteur, vol. 14, pp. 173-6. Noiriel 
goes on to note that, in the Napoleonic period, the government went even 
further toward fixing identities for administrative purposes, imposing upon 
all individuals "the obligation to use a single given surname [and] estab- 
lishing rules for its use and transmission." 

76 Quoted in Brubaker 1992: 8. 

77 "Decret qui bannit a perpetuite les emigres francais, 23-25 octobre 1792," 
Collection complete, vol. 5: 27. 

78 "Decret qui oblige les emigres rentres en France a sortir du territoire 
francais, 10 novembre 1792," Collection complete, vol. 5: 42. 

79 "29 novembre - ler decembre 1792, Decret qui leve la suspension des 
certificats de residence en ce qui concerne les negocians, les marchands et 
leurs facteurs, connus pour etre dans l'usage de voyager pour leurs affaires 
de commerce," Collection complete, vol. 5: 63. 

80 "7 decembre 1792, Decret relatif aux passeports a accorder a ceux qui 
seraient dans le cas de sortir du territoire francais pour leurs affaires," 
Collection complete, vol. 5: 69. Interestingly, this decree was followed the same 
day by a "Decret qui abolit toutes les servitudes reeles ou conditions 
portees par les actes d'infeodation ou d'acensement, et qui tiennent a la 
nature du regime feodal." 

81 AP, 1. Serie, vol. 54:404. 

82 "22-27 janvier 1793, Decret relatif a la nouvelle forme des conges des 
batimens de commerce francais et des passeports a delivrer aux batimens 
etrangers," Collection complete, vol. 5: 1 18. 

83 See Le Moniteur, vol. 15: 498, 531-2; vol. 16: 52; Guiraudon 1991: 595; 
Soboul 1989: 198. 

84 AP, 1. Serie, vol. 59: 270. 

85 Collection complete, vol. 5: 173-4. 

86 Ibid. 175. 

87 "10 avril 1793, Decrets relatifs aux passeports," Collection complete, vol. 5: 245. 

88 Lefebvre 1964: 45-8. See the "Decret concernant les peines portees contre 
les emigres, 28 mars - 5 avril 1793," Collection complete, vol. 5: 218-28. 

89 See "Decret relatif aux passeports des agens du conseil executif et du 
comite du salut public," Collection complete, vol. 5: 279. 


NOTES (PAGES 46-51) 

90 "22-26 juin 1793, Decret relatif aux citoyens servant dans les armees 
dirigees contre les rebelles," Collection complete, vol. 5: 350. 

91 See AP, 1. Serie, vol. 81: 626. 

92 Lefebvre 1964: 68; see the "Decret relatif aux gens suspects, 17 septembre - 
12 aout 1793," Collection complete, vol. 6: 172. 

93 LeMoniteur, vol. 18: 333. 

94 Wahnich 1997: 117. 

95 Guiraudon 1991: 595. Wahnich (1997: 12, 21) claims that the armband was 
merely proposed (as article 7 of the Loi sur les Strangers of 3 August 1793), 
but never actually carried out. 

96 Lefebvre 1964: 47; Wahnich 1997: 119-20. 

97 Lefebvre 1964: 40. 

98 Cobb 1970: 95. 

99 Lefebvre 1964: 294. 

100 See LeMoniteur, vol. 19: 134-5. 

101 See he Moniteur, vol . 2 1 : 57 1 . 

102 The measure to suppress the municipal administration of Paris came on 14 
FructidorYear II. See Soboul 1989: 811. 

103 Le Moniteur, vol. 22: 106. For more on the contention between the munici- 
pality of Paris and the central government over the authority to regulate 
movement, see Le Moniteur, vol. 23: 250-1. 

104 "Decret interpretatif de celui du 6 fructidor, concernant les passeports," 
Collection complete, vol. 7: 287. 

105 See the draconian law of 5 Ventose Year III (24 February 1795), which 
relieved of their responsibilities and confined to surveillance in their origi- 
nal municipality all functionaries of whatever level who had been relieved 
of their posts after 10 Thermidor (28 July 1794); LeMoniteur, vol. 23: 548-9. 
On the 1795 relaxation of these restrictions for cultivators, artists, and mer- 
chants, see Le Moniteur, vol. 23: 693. 

106 Greer 1951: 97. 

107 LeMoniteur, vol. 24: 365. 

108 See Lefebvre 1964: 144-5. 

109 "Arrete du comite de surete general, du 17 messidor, l'an III de la 
republique francaise une et indivisible [5juillet 1795]," LeMoniteur, vol. 25: 

110 Le Moniteur, vol. 25: 421. 

111 "23 messidor an III (11 juillet 1795), Decret qui ordonne aux etrangers nes 
dans les pays avec lesquels la Republique est en guerre de sortir de France, 
s'ils n'y sont pas domicilies, avant le premier janvier 1792," Collection com- 
plete, vol. 8: 185. 

112 Collection complete, vol. 8: 301-2. 

113 "24 vendemiaire an II (15 octobre 1793), Decret contenant des mesures 
pour l'extinction de la mendicite," Collection complete, vol. 6: 229-33. 

114 See "2 germinal an 4 (22 mars 1796) - Arrete du Directoire executif, 
contenant des mesures relatives a l'execution des lois," Collection complete, 
vol. 9: 66-7. 


NOTES (PAGES 51-59) 

1 15 Cobb 1970: 95-6. 

1 16 Le Moniteur, vol. 27: 535. 

117 The speaker referred to was Jean-Gerard Lacuee; see Biographie nouvelle des 
contemporains, vol. 10: 261-2. 

1 18 This account is based on Le Moniteur, vol. 27: 627-30; for the law itself, see 
"14 ventose an 4 (4 mars 1796), Loi qui determine le mode de delivrance 
des passeports a l'etranger," Collection complete, vol. 9: 53. Having adopted 
this measure, the government almost immediately adopted another 
designed to reduce the issuance of passports to those using assumed 
names, and to punish those involved. See "17 ventose an IV (7 mars 1796), 
Loi contenant des mesures pour empecher les delivrances des passeports 
sous des noms supposes," Collection complete, vol. 9: 53-4. 

119 See Souhait's remarks in the Council of 500 of 24 Ventose Year IV (14 
March 1796), in Le Moniteur, vol. 27: 710. 

120 "4 nivose an 5 (24 December 1796), Arrete du Directoire executif, qui 
present des mesures relatives aux passeports des etrangers arrivant en 
France," Collection complete, vol. 9: 250. The Bureau (Ministry) of General 
Police had been created by the Committee of Public Safety at the end of 
FlorealYear II (second half of May 1794). See Lefebvre 1964: 122. 

121 "21 germinal an 5 (10 avril 1797), Arrete du Directoire executif, 
concernant les passeports delivres par les ministres et envoyes des Etats- 
Unis d'Amerique," Collection complete, vol. 9: 339. 

122 Probably the best known response was Burke's mordant Reflections on the 
Revolution in France (1790), which reflected much elite opinion. 

123 See Greer 1951: 102-3; Lefebvre 1964: 197-201. 

124 Plender 1988: 65; for the run-up to the law, see Le Moniteur, vol. 29: 22, 29, 
33, 39, and 43. 

125 Collection complete, vol. 10: 79-80. 

126 Tocqueville 1955: x. 


1 On this point, see the discussion in Sheehan 1989: 232-3. 

2 Ludtke 1989: 46. 

3 See H. H. 1866: 222, where the author writes that "passports (Passe) them- 
selves are first mentioned under the name of 'passports' (Passporten) in 
article LXXXIX of the Reiterbestallung of Speyer in 1570." I am much 
indebted to Mathieu Deflem for passing along this valuable article. 

4 H. H. 1866: 224-5. 

5 Grossi 1905: 136. 

6 H. H. 1866: 225. 

7 Grossi 1905: 122. 

8 Hansen 1961: 50. 

9 See Sheehan 1989: 296-302; the quotation is from p. 301. 
10 Koch 1985: 18. 


NOTES (PAGES 59-68) 

11 "Allgemeines PaBreglement fur gesammte Koniglich-Preussische Staaten, 
vom 20. Marz 1813," Gesetzsammlung fur die koniglichen preussischen Staaten 
[hereinafter Gesetzsammlung] 1813: 47-57. 

12 Bertelsmann 1914: 18. 

13 Koch 1985: 23. 

14 "Allgemeines PaBreglement fur gesammte Koniglich-Preussische Staaten, 
vom 20. Marz 1813," Gesetzsammlung 1813: 47-57. 

15 Sheehan 1989: 317-18; the quotation is from p. 318. 

16 "Deklaration des Pass-Reglements vom 20. Marz 1813 in Ansehung 
der Frachtfuhrleute, Handwerksgesellen und Viehhaendler. Vom 20. 
Februar 1814," Gesetzsammlung 1814: 10-12. The edict was issued from the 
King's field headquarters at Troyes, over both his name and that of 

17 See Sheehan 1989: 401-6. 

18 "Allgemeines PaBedikt fur die Preussische Monarchic," 22 June 1817, in 
Gesetzsammlung 1817: 152ff. 

19 H. H. 1866: 229-30. 

20 Ludtke 1989: 82. 

21 Brubaker 1992: 69-70. The push for greater freedom of movement even 
extended beyond the boundaries of the Confederation itself; for an exam- 
ple, see the "Erklarung wegen Ausdehnung der seit 1812 zwischen der 
koniglichen Preussischen Regierung und der Schweizerischen Eidgenossen- 
schaft bestehenden Freizflgigkeits-LFbereinkunft, auf sammtliche jetzige 
Konigliche Preussische und zur Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft 
gehorige Lande," 25 October 1817, in Gesetzsammlung 1817: 1. 

22 Brubaker 1992: 69-70. 

23 Walker 1964: 75. 

24 Ibid. 13-20, 29-30; the quotation is from p. 30. 

25 Hansen 1961: 110. 

26 Walker 1964: 20, 24, 30; the quotation is from p. 20. 

27 See Walker 1971. 

28 Hansen 1961: 170. 

29 Ibid. 155-6. 

30 See Polanyi 1944: 77-8, 88-9; see also Hansen 1961: 128-9. 

31 For a succinct discussion of the historiographical controversy over the 
significance of the Speenhamland system of allowances, see Marshall 
1985; the quotation here is from p. 43. I am grateful to Phil Gorski for this 

32 MacDonagh 1961: 26. The reality of a bicontinental, "North Atlantic" Irish 
society at this time - as well as many other examples that could be cited, 
perhaps especially including the overseas colonies of Chinese - should be 
taken into account by those who have only recently discovered the phe- 
nomenon of "transnationalism," or who think it new. 

33 Saggar 1992: 31. 

34 First British Passenger Act (43 Geo. Ill, cap. 56); see MacDonagh 1961: 


NOTES (PAGES 68-77) 

35 See Hobsbawm 1962: 211; MacDonagh 1961: 64-5. 

36 Quoted in Hansen 1961: 104. 

37 Hansen 1961: 97; MacDonagh 1961: 64-5. 

38 Hansen 1961: 129-30, 242. 

39 "Magna Carta, 1215," in Rothwell 1975: 320-1. 

40 Hansen 1961: 131-5. 

41 6 & 7 Will. IV, c. 1 1 , in Statutes Revised, vol. VII, 2 & 3 William IV to 6 & 7 
William IV, A. D. 1831-1836: 975-8. 

42 Saggar 1992: 27. 

43 Bergmann & Korth 1985: 13-14. 

44 Note that jus sanguinis as migratory mercantilism tends to presuppose that 
the original population from whom citizenship may be acquired by descent 
constitutes "our" people; in a later context of large-scale immigration of 
suspect "others," it becomes a way of excluding them and their descendants 
from full citizenship. Of course, other political considerations - especially 
the national mythology concerning the matter of openness to immigrants - 
plays a role in these issues as well. I am grateful to Patrick Weil for pointing 
out that the jus soli principle for granting citizenship held sway under the 
ancien regime, and was thus not "republican" in inspiration as Brubaker has 

45 Brubaker 1992: 69-70. 

46 David Blackbourn has noted that resistance to changes in communal citi- 
zenship codes in southwestern Germany was fierce and was only overcome 
in the 1860s. See Blackbourn, "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie: 
Reappraising German History in the Nineteenth Century," in Blackbourn 
& Eley 1984: 191-2. 

47 Walker 1971: 267. 

48 Bergmann & Korth 1985: 14. 

49 Brubaker 1992: 71. 

50 Ibid. 65. 

51 See Walker 1964: 95. 

52 Steinmetz 1993: 113-14. 

53 Ibid. 114. 

54 Grossi 1905: 135-6; Tammeo 1906: 141; Walker 1964: 138, 142-3, 150-1. 

55 See Hansen 1961: 288-90, 304. 

56 This paragraph and the one following are based on the account in H. H. 
1866: 230-2. Note the wide compass of the term "German states," which at 
this point also routinely included Austria. For more on the meaning of 
"national unification" in Germany, see below. 

57 Staatsangehdnge, as opposed to Staatsburger, with its implication of a specific 
package of rights a la T H. Marshall (1964). 

58 Grossi 1905: 139-40. 

59 H. H. 1866: 232-3, 238ff. See the remarks of Dr Friedenthal in 
Stenographische Berichte iiber die Verhandlungen des Reichstages des Norddeutschen 
Bundes, I. Legislatur-Periode, Session 1867 [hereinafter Verhandlungen], 1. 
Band, Berlin, 1867: 177. 


NOTES (PAGES 77-90) 

60 H. H. 1866: 240-1. For a study of the rise of rail travel during the nine- 
teenth century, see Schivelbusch 1980. 

61 Hamerow 1969: 98-9. 

62 Ibid. 160-1. 

63 Ibid. 98. 

64 Hansen 1961: 280. 

65 See Hobsbawm 1975: 193-5. 

66 Ludtke 1989: 77-8; see also pp. 78-9, 82, 87, and 1 10. 

67 The text of the treaty is reproduced in H. H. 1866: 251-3. 

68 On this point, see Ludtke 1989: 79. 

69 Craig 1978: 11, 12, 18-19. 

70 Steinmetz 1993: 9-10. 

71 Verhandlungen, 2. Band, Anlagen, Berlin, 1867: 23. 

72 Paragraph 3 of the 1865 passport law had included such a provision as well. 
In their recent treatise on passport and citizenship law, however, Bergmann 
and Korth (1990: 5) trace this liberal innovation to the 1867 law, presum- 
ably because of the latter's subsequent adoption as the passport law of the 

73 See Tocqueville 1969, especially Volume 2. 

74 On these points, see Verhandlungen, 2. Band: 24. 

75 For these proposed amendments, see Aktenstucke 26, 31, 33, 35, and 39 in 
Verhandlungen, 2. Band: 72-3, 85. 

76 The record of the debate can be found in Verhandlungen, 1. Band: 177-89. 

77 See Hobsbawm 1975: 196. 

78 Aktenstiick 39, Verhandlungen, 2. Band: 85. 

79 Craig 1978: 68-9. 

80 "Gesetz iiber das PaBwesen," 12 October 1867, in Bundesgesetzblatt des 
Norddeutschen Bundes, 1867 (Berlin, 1868): 33-5. For two brief legal com- 
mentaries, see Brunialti 1915: 679; Grossi 1905: 141. 

81 Verhandlungen, 1. Band: 183. 

82 "Gesetz uber die Freizugigkeit," 1 November 1867, Bundesgesetzblatt des 
Norddeutschen Bundes, 1867 (Berlin, 1868): 55-8. 

83 Steinmetz 1993: 4. 

84 Hobsbawm 1975: 36. 

85 See Tocqueville's "Speech in the Chamber of Deputies, 27 January 1848," 
included as Appendix III in Tocqueville 1969, pp. 749-58. Tocqueville 
(1971) quotes from the relevant portions in his Recollections. 16-19. 

86 On the weakness of the socialist movement during this period, see 
Hobsbawm 1975: 108-15. Still, a wave of labor unrest swept across the con- 
tinent in 1868, touching Germany as well; see ibid. 112. 

87 "Verordnung, betreffend die vorubergehende Einfuhrung der PaB- 
Pflichtigkeit fur Berlin, 26 June 1878," Rekhsgesetzblatt 1878: 131. Although 
the measure was explicitly stated to be temporary, I have not found any 
order rescinding it. 

88 I share George Steinmetz's assessment of the transformation of nineteenth- 
century German historiography launched by David Blackbourn and Geoff 


NOTES (PAGES 90-95) 

Eley (1984) in their path-breaking book, The Pecularities of German History. 
"Eley and Blackbourn have introduced a higher level of conceptual clarity 
and rigor into the study of the Prussian-German state. They waste no time 
complaining about the weakness of an idealized middle-class liberalism, 
turning instead to the problem of understanding what German liberalism 
actually did during the Empire. They reject the certitudes of economic 
'bases' determining political and ideological 'superstructures' and attend 
carefully to the failures as well as the successes of German governments in 
cementing a broad ruling-class alliance. They have mustered considerable 
evidence for the claim that the Prussian-German state was founded on a 
bourgeois basis, that Bismarckism promoted capitalism even without direct 
representation of the bourgeoisie, and that after 1890 the bourgeoisie was 
increasingly the state's privileged political partner." Steinmetz 1993: 85. 

89 For an extended discussion of this point, see Geoff Eley, "The British 
Model and the German Road: Rethinking the Course of German History 
Before 1914," in Blackbourn & Eley 1984; the quotations are from pp. 

90 On the points made in this and the preceding paragraph, see Hobsbawm 
1975: 88; Steinmetz 1993: 5-6. 

91 See Hobsbawm 1975: 35-9. The quotations are from pp. 35-6. See also 
Brunialti 1915: 679. 

92 Quoted in Plender 1988a: 67. 

93 See Zeldin 1973: 198-9. 

94 The quotation is from La grande encyclopedie (multiple volumes published 
around 1900), vol. 26: 57; see also Brunialti 1915: 676; Burguiere & Revel 
1989: 67; Plender 1988: 90 n. 132; Vattel 1863: 514 n. 1. 

95 Bolis 1871, quoted by Senator Pierantoni in the debate over the 1901 
Italian passport law, Atti Parlamentari delta Camera dei Senatori: Discussioni, 
Legislatura XXIa, la Sessione 1900-1901 (Rome: Forzani e C. Tipografi del 
Senato, 1901): 922. 


1 Zolberg 1997: 315. 

2 See Higham 1988: 8; Zolberg 1978: 250-1. 

3 Hansen 1961: 102; Zolberg 1978: 256. 

4 Salyer 1995: 4. On the bonding system, see Hansen 1961: 257; MacDonagh 

5 Hansen 1961: 260; Salyer 1995: 4. 

6 "An act regulating the diplomatic and consular systems of the United 
States," 18 August 1856, Sec. 23, US Statutes at Large, vol. 11: 60-1. See also 
United States, Department of State, Passport Office 1976: 9, 26, 31; Hunt 
1898: 37-41; the quotation is on p. 41. 

7 Bensel 1990: ix. On some of the difficulties of establishing national author- 
ity in the United States prior to the Civil War, see also Lipset 1979: 34-5. 


NOTES (PAGES 95-102) 

8 See Foner 1970: 134-8. In one of those ironies of history, the assertion of 
"states' rights" came to be associated with Republican anti-slavery agitation 
against the federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Foner notes laconically 
(137-8) that the radical Republicans' enthusiasm for the traditionally pro- 
slavery notion of states' rights was "quite remarkable in view of the conduct 
of the radicals during Reconstruction." 

9 See Moore 1966, Chapter 3. For Lincoln's views on the war, see McPherson 

10 The decision was handed down in the case of Crandallv. Nevada. See Hall 
1992: 877. 

1 1 For an intriguing discussion from a global standpoint, see McNeill 1983. 

12 See Higham 1988: 15-17. 

13 See Coolidge 1969: 77, 148; Zolberg 1997: 299-301. 

14 The quotation is from Coolidge 1969: 160; see also Chan 1990: 62; Zolberg 
1997: 300-1. 

15 On the objections of the French Foreign Ministry to anti-immigration poli- 
cies in late nineteenth-century France, see Noiriel 1991: 94-5. 

16 Fitzgerald 1996: 114. 

17 Salyer 1995: 7. For the story of working-class opposition to the Chinese in 
California and its role in the coming of the Chinese Exclusion Act, see 
Saxton 1971. 

18 The law covered those of Chinese "race" rather than simply the subjects of 
the Emperor, despite the fact that this violated treaties with other coun- 
tries, such as Canada, who objected to having to "keep" Chinese who failed 
to gain admission into the United States. 

19 Salyer 1991: 86, n. 14. 

20 See Coolidge 1969: 169. 

21 See Salyer 1991: 60-1; 1995: 17-19. 

22 Coolidge 1969: 183-5; the quotation is from p. 185. See also Salyer 1995: 

23 See Chan 1990: 62; Coolidge 1969: 190-208. 

24 Salyer 1995: 22-3. 

25 Coolidge 1969: 233. This and the two preceding paragraphs are based on 
Coolidge: 209-33. 

26 Quoted in Salyer 1995: 26. For an excellent general discussion of immigra- 
tion to the United States and of efforts to restrict it during this period, see 
Chan 1990. 

27 Salyer 1991: 61-2; 1995: 32. 

28 See United States Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization 
Service 1991: 6; Chan 1990: 62-4; Salyer 1995: 32; "An Act to amend sec- 
tions four thousand and seventy-six, four thousand and seventy-eight, and 
four thousand and seventy-five of the Revised Statutes," 14 June 1902, US 
Statutes at Large, vol. 32, Part I: 386. Salyer contends that Chinese immigra- 
tion fell under the general administration of immigration only with the 
creation of the Bureau of Immigration in 1903, whereas Fitzgerald argues 
that this took place with the Sundry Civil Act of June 6, 1900; see Fitzgerald 


NOTES (PAGES 102-109) 

1996: 126. According to Plender (1988: 139-40), the practice of issuing 
American passports to Filipinos only came to an end when the odd coali- 
tion of anti-Filipino exclusionists and the islands' independence activists 
obtained the Philippines' departure from American overlordship in 1936. 

29 See Fitzgerald 1996: 116, 120-3. See also United States Department of 
Justice, Immigration & Naturalization Service 1991: 5-6. On the overseas 
medical examination of would-be emigrants that was prompted by 
American immigration rules, see the report of the Dillingham Commission 
in US Congress, Senate, Committee on Immigration 191 lb: 7lff. 

30 Cf. Brubaker 1992: 69-70. 

31 On this point, see Clark 1984: 33. 

32 See the law no. 23 on emigration and the Royal Decree no. 36 on passports, 
both of 31 January 1901 , in Raccolia Ufficiale delle Leggi e dei Decreti del Regno 
d'ltalia, 1901, vol. 1 (Roma: Stamperia Reale, 1901) [hereinafter Raccolta 
Ufficiale]: 50-78 and 218-39. For a discussion of the emigration law's vari- 
ous provisions, see Foerster 1919: 477-86. 

33 Remarks of Eugenio Valli in Atti del Parlamento Italiano, Camera dei 
Deputati, Sessione 1900, 1. della XXI Legislatura, vol. 1 (Roma: Tipografia 
della Camera dei Deputati, 1900): 604. For an extremely critical contempo- 
rary Italian view of American immigration restrictions and of the support 
for them from the American labor movement, see Tammeo 1906: 106. 

34 See Pantano's remarks during the debate of 30 November 1900, in Atti del 
Parlamento Italiano, Camera dei Deputati, Sessione 1900, 1. della XXI 
Legislatura, vol. 1: 770. 

35 On efforts to restrict the immigration of foreign radicals during this 
period, see Preston 1963. 

36 For the attitudes of Italian elites toward emigration during this period, see 
Foerster 1919: 475-6; on the decline in left-wing voting in areas of high 
emigration, see Dowty 1987: 50-1, citing MacDonald 1963-64. 

37 The quotation, which is of the Italian nationalist Enrico Corradini, is in 
Foerster 1919: 495. On the Libyan war, see Clark 1984: 153-6. 

38 On the failures of Italian imperialist designs, their consequences for the 
emigration, and the 1912 citizenship law, see Foerster 1919: 486-501. 

39 On the distinction between "national" and "nationalist," see Mann 1993: 
32-3 and passim. 

40 See Brubaker 1992: 85-6 and passim; Noiriel 1996: 55. 

41 Noiriel 1991: 89. 

42 See Noiriel 1996: 57. 

43 Noiriel 1991: 166-9. 

44 See Dallier 1914: 32-3; Noiriel 1996: 66-8. 

45 Dallier 1914: 43; Noiriel 1996: 60. 

46 Dallier 1914: 56-61; the quotation is from p. 58; see also Noiriel 1996: 60-1. 
For more on the carnet des nomades, see Kaluszynski 2000. 

47 And not, as Bergmann and Korth suggest (1990: 5), in the First World War. 

48 "Verordnung, betreffend die PaBpflichtigkeit der aus RuBland kom- 
menden Reisenden," 2 February 1879, in Reichsgeselzblall 1879: 9. 


NOTES (PAGES 109-114) 

49 "Verordnung, betreffend die PaBpflichtigkeit der aus RuBland kom- 
menden Reisenden," 14June 1879, Reichsgesetzblatt 1879: 155. 

50 "Verordnung, betreffend die PaBpflichtigkeit der aus RuBland kom- 
menden Reisenden," 29 December 1880, Reichsgesetzblatt 1881: 1. 

51 "Verordnung, betreffend die PaBpflichtigkeit der aus RuBland kom- 
menden Reisenden," 30 June 1894, Reichsgesetzblatt 1894: 501. 

52 On the debate over the "Polonization" of the German east as a result of labor 
importation, see Herbert 1990: 9-37. The quotation is from pp. 12-13. 

53 See Brubaker 1992: 133. 

54 Weber 1988b: 456. 

55 See Weber 1988a: 504. 

56 Knoke 1911: 78; quoted in Herbert 1990: 32. 

57 See Herbert 1990: 34-44; the quotation is from p. 43. 

58 On the anomalous stringency of passport requirements for entry into 
Russia during this period, see Bertelsmann 1914, "Einleitung"; Brunialti 
1915: 679. 

59 Preussische Verordnung of 1 December 1892, quoted in Bertelsmann 1914: 

60 Bertelsmann 1914: 18-19. 

61 See Lucassen 1997: 2. 

62 Plender 1988: 90 n. 132; see also Burguiere & Revel 1989: 67. 

63 Noiriel 1996: 61, 273-4. 

64 Zolberg (1997: 312-13) notes that in England before 1905, "'immigrant' 
rapidly became synonymous with Jew, a group so undesirable that they were 
compared unfavorably with the despised Irish and . . . categorized [in the 
popular mind] as close to the Chinese." 

65 4 & 5 Geo. 5, c. 12, 5 August 1914, ThePublic and General Acts, 1914: 26-8. In 
a pattern that would recur in British history after the Second World War, 
the nearly simultaneous British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914 (7 
August 1914, 4 & 5 Geo. 5 c. 17), further described as an "Act to consoli- 
date and amend the Enactments relating to British Nationality and the 
Status of Aliens," was motivated by the need to determine who exactly was 
an alien for purposes of alien restriction. 

66 "Verordnung, betreffend die vorubergehende Einfuhrung der PaBpflicht," 
31 July 1914, Reichsgesetzblatt 1914: 264-5. 

67 "Verordnung, betreffend anderweite Regelung der PaBpflicht," 16 
December 1914, Reichsgesetzblatt 1914: 521-2. 

68 "Verordnung, betreffend anderweite Regelung der PaBpflicht," 21 June 
1916, Reichsgesetzblatt 1916: 599-601. 

69 "Bekanntmachung, betreffend Ausfuhrungsvorschriften zu der 
PaBverordnung," 24 June 1916, Reichsgesetzblatt 1916: 601-9. 

70 "R. decreto del 6 agosto 1914, n. 803, che sospende la facolta di emigrare ai 
militari del R. esercito e della R. Marina," Raccolta Ufficiale, 1914, vol. 3 
(Rome: Stamperia Reale): 2804—5. 

71 "R. decreto 2 maggio 1915, n. 635, concernente l'espatrio per ragioni di 
lavoro," Raccolta Ufficiale, 1915, vol. 2 (Rome: Stamperia Reale): 1723-7. 


NOTES (PAGES 115-117) 

According to the "Decreto Luogotenenziale 23 dicembre 1915, n. 1825, 
che proroga sino alia fine della guerra il termine di validita stabilito 
nell'art. 12 del R. decreto 2 maggio 1915, n. 635, circa l'espatrio per ragioni 
di lavoro," (Raccolta Ufficiale, 1915, vol. 5 [Rome: Stamperia Reale]: 
4623-4), the requirement that those going abroad to work present a labor 
contract before doing so was to be abolished with the end of the war. 

72 "Decreto-legge del 2 maggio 1915 [n. 634], concernente il soggiorno degli 
stranieri in Italia," Raccolta Ufficiale, 1915, vol. 2 (Rome: Stamperia Reale): 

73 "Decreto Luogotenenziale 16 marzo 1916, n. 339, che sospende tempo- 
raneamente il rilascio dei passaporti per l'estero," Raccolta Ufficiale, 1916, 
vol. 1 (Rome: Stamperia Reale): 643-4. 

74 "Decreto Luogotenenziale 23 luglio 1916, n. 895, che approva le norme 
relative all'entrata e all'uscita di persone dal Regno," Raccolta Ufficiale, 
1916, vol. 2 (Rome: Stamperia Reale): 1896-1918. 

75 "Decreto Luogotenenziale 27 agosto 1916, riguardante la concessione dei 
passaporti per l'interno," Raccolta Ufficiale, 1916, vol. 3 (Rome: Stamperia 
Reale): 2369-71. 

76 On the characteristics of the army fielded by Italy in the First World War, 
see Clark 1984: 186-8. 

77 "Verordnung, uber die Abanderung der Verordnung vom 21. Juni 
1916, betreffend anderweite Regelung der PaBpflicht," 10 June 1919, 
Rekhsgesetzblatt 1919: 516-17. Three weeks earlier, the German government 
had announced stiffened penalties for transgression of the passport 
laws and for various violations of proper procedure with respect to border 
controls. See "Verordnung, betreffend Strafbestimmungen fur Zuwider- 
handlungen gegen die PaBvorschriften," 21 May 1919, Rekhsgesetzblatt 

78 Aliens Order 1920, 25 March 1920, The Statutory Rules and Orders and Statutory 
Instruments Revised to 31 December 1948, vol. II (London: His Majesty's 
Stationery Office, 1950): 1-48. 

79 "Decreto-legge Luogotenenziale 18 maggio 1919, n. 1093, che stabilisce 
l'obbligo del passaporto per i cittadini che sono considerati o si presumono 
emigranti, fissando altresi norme per il suo rilascio e le penalita da 
infliggersi ai contrawentori," Raccolta Ufficiale, 1919 vol. 3 (Rome: 
Tipografia delle Mantellate, 1919): 2381-4. 

80 International Labour Office 1928: 85. 

81 Dowry 1987: 83. 

82 Executive Order No. 2285, 15 December 1915. 

83 See Chan 1990: 63; Higham 1988: 203-4; the text of the law can be found at 
39 Stat. 874 (1917). For some of the legal complications of American racial 
classifications during this period, see Haney-Lopez (1996). 

84 US Statutes at Large, vol. 40, Part I: 559; Executive Order No. 2932, 8 August 

85 Public Law #79, "An Act To regulate further the entry of aliens into the 
United States," 10 November 1919, US Statutes at Large, vol. 41, Part I: 353. 


NOTES (PAGES 118-123) 

86 The quotation is from Commissioner General of Immigration Anthony 
Caminetti in United States, Department of Labor, Bureau of Immigration 
1919: 67-8. As a member of the US House of Representatives from the state 
of California in the late nineteenth century, Caminetti had been active in 
efforts to deport Chinese criminals. See Coolidge 1969: 230. 

87 See Paxton 1975: 95. 

88 Letter of F. W. Berkshire, Supervising Inspector, Mexican Border District, 
El Paso, Texas, to Commissioner-General of Immigration, 5 February 1918, 
US Department of Labor, Immigration Service File No. 54261/276. 

89 See United States, Department of Labor, Bureau of Immigration, 1918: 

90 For more about the role of the INS and the Border Patrol in ensuring labor 
supply to agricultural businesses in the Southwest, see Calavita 1992. I am 
also grateful to Professor Calavita for a personal communication (12 August 
1998) clarifying my understanding of the origins of the Border Patrol. 

91 The relevant history is detailed in Higham 1988, Chapter 11. Canadians 
and Latin Americans were exempted from the quota limitations. 

92 United States, Department of Labor, Immigration and Naturalization 
Service 1934: 2. 

93 Zolberg 1997: 308-9; see also Fitzgerald 1996: 132; Higham 1988: 324. For 
details on the workings of the system, see United States, Department of 
Labor, Immigration and Naturalization Service 1934: 2ff. 

94 See Noiriel 1996, Chapter 2. 

95 On the notion of the twentieth-century "protectionist state," see Strikwerda 

96 On the concept of "infrastructural power" and its importance for under- 
standing the novelty of European states since the nineteenth century, see 
Mann 1993:59-61. 

97 For a discussion of the role of the welfare state and its beneficiaries in the 
labor movement in promoting immigration restriction during this period, 
see Lucassen 1998. 

98 This is a central theme of Mann 1993; for the case of France, see Noiriel & 
Offerle 1997. My argument here parallels that of Zolberg (1997: 293, 304), 
who argues that the "internalist" analyses of immigration restriction adduced 
by American liberals such as John Higham are unable to explain the global 
character of the restrictionist impulse in the late nineteenth and early twen- 
tieth century, and that explanations invoking the antipathies of labor 
movements to immigrant competitors ignore the fact that labor movements 
generally lacked the power to compel legislative action in their interest. 


1 See Reale 1930: 1-2. 

2 Arendt 1973: 277. 

3 See Skran 1995. 


NOTES (PAGES 124-132) 

4 Zolberg 1978: 267. 

5 See Kulischer 1948: 56. Estimates of total population movements across 
borders during this period range up toward 10 000 000. 

6 Skran 1995: 36, 102. 

7 "R. Decreto 18 marzo 1923, n. 590, relativo al rilascio dei passaporti per 
l'estero agli inscritti di leva ed ai militari in congedo," Raccolta Ufficiale, 
1919, vol. 3 (Rome: Tipografia delle Mantellate, 1923): 1915-1917. On the 
creation of the Fascist Militia, see Clark 1984: 222. 

8 Remarks in the Camera dei Deputati, 31 March 1927, quoted in Oblath 
1931: 808. 

9 See Levi 1947. In addition, of course, Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks 
emerged from the Fascist context, but Gramsci was imprisoned rather than 
merely sent into internal exile in the South, a penalty the Fascist regime 
apparently considered punishment enough for a cultivated Turinese doc- 
tor - but not for a southern Italian revolutionary. 

10 See Skran 1995: 55-6; Zolberg 1978: 272. 

1 1 On the millet system, see Kymlicka 1995: 156-8. 

12 See Skran 1995: 41-5. 

13 Arendt 1973: 274-5. Macartney's comments on the results of the Versailles 
are trenchant: "The result of the Peace settlement was that every State in 
the belt of mixed population . . . now looked upon itself as a national state. 
But the facts were against them . . . Not one of these states was in fact uni- 
national, just as there was not, on the other hand, one nation all of whose 
members lived in a single state." Quoted in ibid. 274, n. 14. 

14 See Marrus 1985: 92-4. 

15 See Skran 1995: 104-5. 

16 Arendt 1973: 282, n. 33. 

17 Marrus 1985: 94; Skran 1995: 105. 

18 See Marrus 1985: 94; Skran 1995: 106-8. Notably absent from among the 
signatories were the United States, Great Britain, and Italy; the latter, of 
course, had fallen under fascist control since the signing of the first 

19 See Skran 1995: 108-9, 113. 

20 Marrus 1985: 95. 

21 Skran 1995: 105. 

22 Hobsbawm 1990: 132. 

23 Polanyi 1944: 202. 

24 Matthews 1993: 5. 

25 Fitzpatrick 1994: 92. 

26 Shelley 1996: xv. 

27 See Hall 1992: 877-8; Kulischer 1948: 18. 

28 See Turack 1972: 9. 

29 I borrow the terms, and the idea of their juxtaposition by the Nazis, from 
Herf 1984. 

30 See Aly & Roth 1984: 55, 58-9. Despite its shortcomings, this book is by far 
the best monographic treatment of the complex administrative difficulties 


NOTES (PAGES 132-137) 

the Germans confronted in the project of "solving" the Jewish "problem," 
and of how they went about tackling those obstacles. I rely on it heavily in 
the present discussion. 

31 "Gesetz iiber den Widerruf von Einburgerungen und die Aberkennung 
der deutschen Staatsangehorigkeit," 14July 1933, Reichsgesetzblatt 1933, Part 
I: 430ff.; the implementing order of 26 July 1933, is to be found at 
Reichsgesetzblatt 1933, Part I: 538ff. Brief versions of the essentials of the law 
and the implementing order may be found in Walk 1981: 36, 42; see also 
Bergmann & Korth 1985: 27. For a brief discussion of the law and its signif- 
icance, see Schleunes 1970: 110-11. 

32 See Schmid et al. 1983, vol. 1: 97-100. 

33 Aly & Roth 1984: 44-5. 1 have been unable to establish whether the similar- 
ities between the Nazis' "work-book" and the Soviet internal passport was 
coincidental or the result of conscious imitation. On the "passportization" 
of the USSR in the early 1930s, see Garcelon 2000; Torpey 1997. 

34 See Ayass 1988: 219-21; Treuberg 1990: 89-90. 

35 "Gesetz fiber das Pafl-, das Auslanderpolizei-, und das Meldewesen sowie 
uber das Ausweiswesen," 11 May 1937, Reichsgesetzblatt 1937, Part I: 589. An 
analogous order was adopted for Austria soon after the Anschluss; see 
"Verordnung uber die Einfuhrung des Gesetzes uber das Pali-, 
Auslanderpolizei- und das Meldewesen sowie uber das Ausweiswesen vom 
11. Mai 1937 im Lande Oesterreich vom 10. Mai 1938," Reichsgesetzblatt 
1938, Part I: 51 1. That the Interior Minister assumed these powers over the 
issuance of passports had nothing to do with the uniquely horrifying fea- 
tures of the Nazi regime. Rather, in a departure from practice elsewhere in 
Europe and in the United States, where passport matters are the province 
of the foreign minister, in Germany these responsibilities have always been 
in the domain of the Ministry of the Interior, and remain so to this day. 

36 See Schulze 1942 for the main components of the original regulations and 
their subsequent revisions. See also Aly & Roth 1984: 39-40. 

37 Schulze 1942: 3; see Aly & Roth 1984: 141-2. 

38 F. Burgdorfer, "Die Juden in Deutschland und in der Welt: Ein statistischer 
Beitrag zur biologischen, beruflichen und sozialen Struktur des Judentums 
in Deutschland," Forschungen zur Judenfrage Bd. 3, Hamburg 1938: 162-3, 
quoted in Aly & Roth 1984: 62-3. 

39 Quoted in Aly & Roth 1984: 41-2. 

40 "Kennkartenzwang (3. Bekanntmachung vom 23. 7. 1938)," quoted in ibid. 

41 Aly & Roth 1984:53-4. 

42 "Auslanderpolizeiverordnung," 22 August 1938, Reichsgesetzblatt 1938, Part 
I: 1053-6. 

43 See Schleunes 1970: 229-30. 

44 This account is based on Skran 1995: 211-14; see also Yahil 1990: 94-5. 

45 "Verordnung iiber Reisepasse von Juden," 5 October 1938, Reichsgesetzblatt 
1938. 1342; Burleigh & Wippermann 1991: 87; Yahil 1990: 108-9. 

46 See Wyman 1968,1984. 


NOTES (PAGES 137-146) 

47 Rubinstein 1997: 17. My italics. 

48 This paragraph and the next are based on Skran 1995: 75-6, 113-14, 

49 Rubinstein 1997: 36-7. Needless to say, Rubinstein does not share Daniel 
Jonah Goldhagen's view that the Jews in Germany were surrounded by 
bloodthirsty "eliminationist" anti-Semites, from whom presumably Jews 
would not have waited so long to flee. Nor do I. 

50 Aly & Roth 1984: 75. 

51 See ibid. 44-6. 

52 Ibid. 25-6, 78-9. 

53 Quoted in ibid. 51. 

54 "Vorschriften uber das Meldewesen," 6 September 1939, Reichsgesetzblatt 
1939, Part I: 1688, also in Schulze 1942: 71-8; the quotation is from the 
preamble in ibid. 71. 

55 The letter is quoted in Aly & Roth 1984: 42-3. 

56 See Browning 1986. The quotations are from pp. 501 and 512. 

57 Friedman 1955: 50. 

58 See ibid, and the discussion in Schwan 1997: 116-18. 

59 On the "modernity" of the Holocaust, see Bauman 1991. 

60 Quoted in Aly & Roth 1984: 52-3. 

61 See ibid. 66-7. 

62 Kipphardt 1983: 114. 

63 This paragraph is based on Zolberg et al. 1989: 21-2. 

64 See Marrus 1985: 310, 317-24. 

65 See Zolberg et al. 1989: 22-6. 

66 See articles 27 and 28 of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of 
Refugees. I clarified my understanding of the UNHCR's role in supplying 
travel documents to refugees in a telephone interview with Legal 
Counselor Jane Kochman of UNHCR, Washington, DC, 11 February 1999, 
and on the basis of an advisory on 'Travel Documents" issued by that office, 
dated 29 April 1998. 

67 See Plender 1988: 206, 274, 288. 

68 Turack 1972: 53. 

69 Ibid. 68-9. 

70 See the "Begriindung" of the Gesetzentwurf der Bundesregierung, Entwurf 
eines PaBgesetzes, Deutscher Bundestag, 10. Wahlperiode, Drucksache 
10/3303, 7. Mai 1985. 

71 The Legal Committee's report of September 23, 1953, can be found in 
Council of Europe, Consultative Assembly, Fifth Session, Third Part, 15-26 
September 1953, Documents, Doc. 201, quoted in Turack 1972: 70. 

72 See "Erste Beratung des Entwurfs eines Gesetzes uber das PaBwesen," 
Verhandlungen des deutschen Bundestages [hereafter Verhandlungeri] , 164. 
Sitzung, Mittwoch, den 26. September 1951: 6650-1, and the "Zweite und 
dritte Beratung des Entwurfs eines Gesetzes uber das PaBwesen," 
Verhandlungen, 176. Sitzung, Donnerstag, den 22. November 1951: 7223-35. 
The quotation is from p. 6650. 


NOTES (PAGES 147-152) 

73 See the government's "Begriindung" of the "Entwurf eines Bundesgesetzes 
uber das PaBwesen," Anlagen zu den Verhandlungen des deutschen Bundestages 
[hereafter Anlagen] (1951), Drucksache 2509: 6. 

74 See the "Anderungsvorschlage des Bundesrates zum Entwurf eines 
Bundesgesetzes uber das PaBwesen," Anlagen (1951), Drucksache 2509: 8; 
remarks of Deputy Hoppe, rapporteur of the AusschuB fur Angelegenheiten 
der inneren Verwaltung, "Zweite und dritte Beratung des Entwurfs eines 
Gesetzes uber das PaBwesen," Verhandlungen, 176. Sitzung, Donnerstag, den 
22. November 1951: 7224; and the final version of the law, "Gesetz uber das 
PaBwesen," 4 March 1952, Bundesgesetzblatt 1952, Part I: 290-2. A report of 
the Industrie- und Handelstag from this period notes that the organization 
was successful in achieving its aim of avoiding any exit visa requirement for 
trips abroad by Germans. See Deutscher Industrie- und Handelstag 
(DIHT), Tatigkeitsbericht fur das Geschaftsjahr 1951/52 (n.p., n.d.): 39. I was 
unable to learn the reasons determining the DIHT's stance in these mat- 
ters because, according to Dr Jurgen Mollering, the director of the Legal 
Department of the organization, no materials from that year survive in the 
DIHT's archives. Personal communication from Dr Mollering, 19 January 

75 See the remarks of KPD deputy Paul and SPD deputy Maier in "Zweite und 
dritte Beratung des Entwurfs eines Gesetzes uber das PaBwesen," 
Verhandlungen, 176. Sitzung, Donnerstag, den 22- November 1951: 7225-6, 
7232, and passim. 

76 US Statutes at Large, vol. 64, part I: 993. 

77 See Maier's remarks, as well as the similar criticisms of FPD deputy 
Neumayer, in "Zweite und dritte Beratung des Entwurfs eines Gesetzes 
uber das PaBwesen," Verhandlungen, 176. Sitzung, Donnerstag, den 22. 
November 1 95 1 : 7230 and 7233. 

78 Verhandlungen, 164. Sitzung, Mittwoch, den 26. September 1951: 6650. The 
Social Democratic representative Dr Mommer seconded the Interior 
Minister's views on this matter. See "Zweite und dritte Beratung," p. 7227. 

79 See Chapter 4 above. 

80 Plender 1988: 22, 24; the quotation is from Turack 1972: 118. 

81 Turack 1972: 61, 118-19. 

82 Ibid. 119; Plender 1988: 25, 83; Saggar 1992: 48. 

83 "Verordnung zum Reichsburgergesetz," November 25, 1941, Reichsgesetz- 
blatt 1941, Part I: 722ff., cited in Bergmann & Korth 1990: 27. 

84 The preceding paragraphs are based on Plender 1988: 135-6; Turack 1972: 

85 On the Immigration Act of 1971, see Miles & Phizacklea 1984: 69-73. 

86 For the report on the proposed law by the joint committee of the 
Committees on Presidential Affairs, Internal Affairs, and Foreign Affairs, 
see Senato della Repubblica, IV Legislatura, "Relazione e testo degli articoli 
approvati dalle Commissioni Riunite: la (Affari della Presidenza del 
Consiglio e dell'Interno) e 3a (Affari Esteri) (Relatore Battino Vittorelli)," 
N. 1 775-A, sul Disegno di Legge presentato dal Ministro degli Affari Esteri 


NOTES (PAGES 152-161) 

di concerto col Ministro dell'Interno, di Grazia e Giustizia, ecc, nella 
Seduta del 13 Luglio 1966, communicata alia Presidenza il 24 luglio 1967. 

87 Article 8 of the Convention for European Economic Co-operation, the con- 
stitutional instrument of the OEEC, quoted in Turack 1972: 53. 

88 See "Erste Beratung des von der Bundesregierung eingebrachten Entwurfs 
eines Passgesetzes," Deutscher Bundestag, 10. Wahlperiode, 149. Sitzung, 
den 27. Juni 1985, and "Zweite und dritte Beratung des Passgesetzes," 
Deutscher Bundestag, 10. Wahlperiode, 202. Sitzung, den 28. Februar 
1986, as well as the Greens' various proposed revisions to the law. 

89 Bergmann & Korth 1990: 6-7. 

90 Plender 1988: 214. 

91 Turack 1972: 115. 

92 See Sassen 1996. 

93 On these points, see Cornelius et al. 1994. 

94 Richmond 1994: 216. 

95 See "Centri speciali prima dell'espulsione," Corriere delta Sera, 20 February 
1998: 3. 

96 I am grateful to Susan Sterett for pointing this out to me. 

97 "The Convention on International Civil Aviation, Annexes 1 to 18" (n.p.: 
International Civil Aviation Organization, 1991); see also "Memorandum 
on ICAO: The Story of the International Civil Aviation Organization" 
(Montreal: ICAO, 1994); "Machine Readable Travel Documents, Part I: 
Machine Readable Passports," 3rd edn. (Montreal: International Civil 
Aviation Organization, 1992). 

98 Brubaker 1994: 230. 

99 For an analysis of the effectiveness of controls on migration, see Zolberg 

100 This is the main thrust of Soysal 1994. 

101 Seejacobson 1997. 

102 Soysal 1994: 159. 

103 Arendt 1973: 230. 

104 On these issues, see Marshall 1964. 

105 Walzer 1983: 39. 

106 See Caldeira 1996. 

107 Blakely & Snyder 1997: 7. 


1 Meyer 1987: 52. 

2 Bertelsmann 1914: 13-17. 

3 See Hannum 1987. 

4 See Turack 1972: 8-9. The case in question was Satwant Singh Sawhney v. 
Assistant Passport Officer, Government of India, 10 April 1967. Ironically, the 
result of this decision was the Passport Act 1967, which enumerated the 
specific grounds on which the Indian government could refuse a passport 


NOTES (PAGES 161-166) 

to an applicant. The 1967 Act was the first statutory regulation of a matter 
that theretofore had been left arbitrary. 

5 Bergmann & Korth, 1990: 4. 

6 Plender 1988: 150. 

7 Dowty 1987: 171. 

8 Ibid. 128. 

9 See Bhagwati 1976. 

10 Zolberg 1978: 271. 

1 1 For a thoughtful discussion of the reasons why a liberal polity might want to 
restrict entry into its territory, see Whelan 1988. 

12 Already in 1959 - that is, before the arrival in Europe of large numbers 
of "guestworkers" who have been seen as the vanguard of a reconfiguration 
of the relationship between citizenship and access to rights (see Soysal 
1994) - a leading analyst of the role of nationality in international law put 
it this way: "Admission, especially of persons who wish to take up residence 
in the admitting State, resembles in many respects naturalization (which 
sometimes results): the foreign national is thus admitted to the local legal 
community; through his residence or actual sojourn [J rights and obliga- 
tions come into being which resemble those resulting from nationality." 
(Van Panhuys 1959: 55). 

13 Goodwin-Gill 1978: 26. 

14 Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states flatly, 
"Everyone has the right to a nationality" (UN Department of Public 
Information 1985). The Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless 
Persons was adopted in 1954, and the Convention on the Reduction of 
Statelessness in 1961. The quotation is from Dowty 1987: 109. 

15 I am grateful to David Laitin for insisting on this point in a personal com- 

16 See Garcelon 2000; Fitzpatrick 1994; Matthews 1993; Torpey 1997; 
Zaslavsky & Luryi 1979. 

17 Fussell 1980: 24. 



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airline companies 10 
Alien Act, US 94 

Aliens Restriction Act, UK 68, 70, 91, 

Anatolian Greek refugees 126 
apartheid-era South Africa, granting 

of passports 9, 162 
Armenian refugees 126 
Nansen passport 128 
artisans, movement of, Prussia 61-2 
Assyrians, Nansen passports 129 
Austria, Anschluss 135, 136 
Austrian refugees 138 
authoritarian states, control on 

movement 9 
aveu 23, 24, 33 

Balkan refugees 126 
Bavaria, citizenship 72 
beggars 58, 89, 133 
Belgium, relaxation of passport 

controls 145 
Bertillon, Alphonse 107 
birth certificate 107 
birth registers 21, 43 
Bismarck, Otto von 82, 88, 90, 109 
Bolshevik regime 124-5, 130 
boundaries 1, 9, 154-5 
brigands 32, 33, 37, 46, 49 
British Nationality Act (1948) 149 
British Overseas Citizens 151 
British Protected Persons 151 
British Subjects (without citizenship) 


British Visitor's Card 149 
Brubaker, Rogers 14, 64, 65, 72, 73, 

Burlingame Treaty (1868) 96, 97 

cahiers de doleances 22-3 
carte de surete 50 
censuses 11, 12, 14, 30, 34 

German Jews 132, 139-40 
certificates of residence 21, 31-2, 44 
certificate de civisme 45, 47, 49-50 
China-United States treaties 96-7 

emigration rights to United States 96 
restriction/exclusion controls, 

United States 97-101 
Chinese Exclusion Acts, US 97-9, 101 
citizenship laws 
Commonwealth countries 149 
early twentieth-century Germany 

France 106 
Italy 105 

nineteenth-century Germany 71-5, 

United States 95-6 

citizenship rights 156 
and international passports 161-2 
and Nansen passports 128, 129 

civil identity 107 

civil status, French citizens 43-4, 56 
Cold War 144, 146 

Commonwealth citizens, immigration 

controls 149-50 
Commonwealth Immigration Act 

(UK) 149-50 
Communist China 9 
and West German passport controls 

146-7, 148 
denial of passports, United States 

148, 162 
Condorcet31, 53 



Congress of Vienna (1815) 57, 62, 72 
conscription 14 

Council of Europe, Legal Committee 

145-6, 148 
Czechoslovakian refugees 138 

Declaration of the Rights of Man and 

Citizen 25, 28, 55 
Delacroix, Jean-Francois 35, 39, 40 
"direct rule" 14, 15 
documentary controls on 

Europe 18-19 

nineteenth-century Germany 

58-66, 71-92 
revolutionary France 21-56 
United Kingdom 66-71 
driver's license 166 

East Germans, and FRG passport 

controls 147 
Eichmann, Adolf 135, 142-3 
"embracing" societies, states as 11-12 
emigration policy 
Italy 103-4, 116-17, 152 
United Kingdom 68-9 
emigration restrictions, German 

Confederation 58, 59, 64-6, 75, 77 
emigres, treatment of, France 27, 29, 

30, 32, 44, 49 
England see United Kingdom 
entry visas 163 
Estates General 22, 23 
passport controls 18-20 
postwar, loosening of passport 
controls 143-57 
European Economic Community 
elimination of controls on 

movement 152-3, 154 
loosening of internal borders 154-5 
Schengen Accords (1985) 153, 154, 

European passport 

creation of 145 

FRG support for 153 
European Union 158 

concerns over outer boundary 
vulnerability 154-5 

need for national ID card 155 
exit visas 162 

external passports 158, 159 
France 49 

see also international passports 

Fascists, Italy, emigration policy 125 
Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) 
adopts unfalsifiable passports 153 
and treatment of communists 146, 

Greens' concerns over "data 

protection" 153 
identity cards 166 
passport law 146, 147, 153-4, 161 
support for European passport 153 
abolition of 57, 66-7 
to capitalism transformation 8 
Filipinos, access to passports, US 102 
First World War, passport controls 

111-16, 121 
labour recruitment, Germany 78-9 
legal concept of 20, 28 
passport needs 

Germany 58, 83, 91 
Great Britain 52, 69-70, 91 
Prussia 60, 61, 62 
revolutionary France 27, 30, 37 

40, 42-3, 47, 50, 52-4, 55 
United States 117-18, 120 
registration systems 1 1 
Foucault, Michel 5, 11, 16 

arrest of persons leaving the 

Kingdom 25 
border controls 26-7 
certificates of residence 31-2 
citizenship 106 

Constituent Assembly 26-7, 51, 55 
Constitution of 1791 29 
Convention 44-51 
Council of Ancients 52 
criticisms over restraint of 

movement 24-5, 42-3 
departmentalization 28-9 
distinction between natives and 

foreigners 50, 56, 106, 107 
documentary requirements, 

eighteenth century 21-2 
emigres, treatment of 27, 29, 30, 32, 




First Directory 51-6 

discriminatory taxation of 106-7 

identification documents for 

identity cards 166 
immigrant workers 107, 112 
invasion fears 26, 30 
Legislative Assembly 30, 32, 33, 

military service 106 
National Assembly 24, 25, 26, 27, 

29, 30 
"nomads" 108 

passport controls 21-56, 92, 112 
separation of nationals and non- 
nationals 106 
watch committees 46, 47, 48 
see also French Revolution 
Frederick William I of Prussia 58 
Frederick William III of Prussia 59 
foreigners passport laws 59-60, 61, 

movement of "friendly" states' 

artisans 61-2 
Prussian subjects passport 

exemption 60-1 
free trade, interwar period 129, 130 
French citizens 
civil status 43-4, 56 
legal concept 20, 28 
passport requirements 42-3, 52, 54 
regulation of 27, 50-1 
French Revolution 21-56 
direct rule 14 
documentary controls on 

movement 2, 3 
flight of the King 25-6, 29, 38 

carte de surete 50 

definition 30-1 

distinction from natives 50 

passport needs 27, 30, 37, 40, 
42-3, 47, 50, 52-4, 55 

surveillance of 31, 50 
freedom of movement 23-4, 29, 43 

under the Convention 44-51 
passport controls 

elimination impact 29-32 

First Directory concerns 51-6 

post-Revolution 49-51 

pre-Revolution 21-5 

proposed law 34, 36-44 
reasons for 55-6 
reintroduction debate of early 

1792 32-6 
renewal 25-9 

under the Convention 44-9 

gated communities 157 
German Confederation 62, 64 
abolition of passport controls 58 
citizenship 71-5, 91 
constituent states' exclusion of 

undesirables 89 
controls and military obligations 75 
documentary restrictions on 

movement of lower orders 58 
emigration laws 58, 59, 64-5, 75, 

77, 79 

foreign workers need to carry 

identification cards 110 
foreigners' need for passports 58, 


freedom of movement 65, 71-5, 

freedom of settlement 65, 73, 74, 89 
industrialists demand for foreign 

labour 78-9 
itinerant poor, special restrictions 


liberation of peasants, early 

nineteenth century 59 
"Pass-Card Treaty" among German 

states 76 
Passport Bill, Reichstag debate 82, 

85-8, 91 
passport controls, relaxation of 


Passport Law (1867), broader 

significance 88-92 
Passport Treaty (1865) 80-1, 82, 83, 


subjects' freedom to practice any 

trade 89 
see also North German 
Confederation; Prussia 
German Democratic Republic 

(GDR), passport laws 146, 147 
German imperial government 
expulsion of Polish workers 109 
foreigners and passport controls 



passport controls 

Great War 112-14 

post-Great War 116 
passport requirements for those 

coming from Russia 108-9, 110 
visa requirements 113 
German Jews 
difficulties in obtaining refuge 

outside German-controlled 

Europe 137, 138-9 
failure to seek refuge 139 
passports stamped with red "J" 136, 


seek to leave German-controlled 

Europe 137 
special census of 132, 139-40 
German National Socialists see Nazis 
German passports, issuance 

guidelines 113-14 
German Second Empire 90-1 

unification of passport laws 84 
Germany, Federal Republic see 

Federal Republic of Germany 
Giddens, Anthony 15 
Goffman, Erving 15 
governmental! ty 5 
Great Depression 129-30 
Great War 
passport controls 111-16, 121 

France 92, 112 

Germany 112-14 

Great Britain 112 

Italy 105 

United States 117 
Greer, Donald 23, 27, 54 
gypsies 18 

Habermas.Jurgen 10 

High Commissioner for Refugees 

from Germany 138 
Hobsbawm, E.J. 130 
household registration systems 14 


anthropometric, France 107, 108 

importance of 16 

methods 17 

state-sponsored 16-17 
identity 13, 15 

possession of 4 

through social standing 17 

identity cards 7, 12, 50, 63, 64, 110, 
121, 153, 155, 158, 167 

purpose of 165-6 
identity papers 

as currency 10 

as invasions of small-scale social life 

immigrant workers, France 107, 112 
immigrants, 'identity' of 13 
Immigration Act (1891, US) 101 
Immigration Act (1924, US) 120 
Immigration Act (1971, UK) 151 
immigration controls 156 

Commonwealth citizens 149-50 
immigration policies 

states' role 6 

United States 101-2, 117, 131 

see also emigration policies 
India, passports and citizen rights 161 

of immigration control, US 101 

of nation-states 13, 14-17 
Intergovernmental Committee on 

Refugees 136 
internal migration, Prussia 73-4 
internal passports 158, 159, 164-5 

France 49 

Italy 1 15 

Nazi Germany 133 
purpose of 165 
Soviet Union 130-1, 165 
International Civil Aviation 

Organization 155-6 
international human rights 156, 159 
international migration, post-First 

World War 122-3 
international passports 158, 159-60, 

and citizenship 161-2 
departure 160-2 

entry to destination country 162-3 
return 163-4 
international refugee law, and 

Nansen passports 129 
International Refugee Organization 

international refugee regime, early 

inter war period 123, 124-31 
international visa system 53 
inter war period 
Nazi Germany and persecution of 
Jews 131-43 



protectionism 129-30 
refugee regime 123, 124-9 

citizenship laws 105 

emigration encouraged 103, 104-5, 

116-17, 152 
Fascist, emigration policy 125 
passport controls 

Great War 114-16 

post-Great War 116-17 
passport law 

(1901) 103-5 

(1967) revision 151-2 
perceived as weak link in Schengen 

Accord 155 
visa requirements 115 

Japanese laborers, United States 102 
Jewish refugees 137, 138, 139 

deported to death camps 141 
Nazi persecution of 131-43 
wear Yellow Badge 141-2 
see also German Jews 

Kenyan Asians, and British nationality 

League of Nations 123, 127 
and new passport regime 127 
create High Commissioner for 
Refugees from Germany 138 
Evian Convention on refugee 

problem 135-6 
Nansen passport 127-9, 138 
Lemontey 36-7 

Lefebvre, George 23, 26, 47, 49 
Liebknecht, Wilhelm 85, 87-8, 91 
Louis XVI 

execution 45 

flight of 25-6, 29, 38 
Lublin Reservation resettlement of 
Jews 140 

Luxembourg, relaxation of passport 
controls 145 

McDonald, James G. 138 
Madagascar Plan 140, 141 
Malcolm, Neill 138 
Mann, Michael 11, 12 
Marrus, Michael 129 

Marx, Karl 4, 167 

medical inspection, and exclusion 

102, 103 
merchants, France 27, 32, 44 
Mexican alien infiltration, US 118-19 
Mexico 118-19 

"coyotes" 66 
Meyer, John 5 

and migration policies 5-6 

in terwar period 124-31 

see also emigration; immigration 

military service 19, 106, 113, 115-16 
Minority Treaties 126-7 
Mussolini, Benito 125 

Nansen passport 127-9, 138 
Napoleon 59,61,62 
nation, concept of 14 
nation-states 1 , 7, 9 

as network of institutions 12-13 

Germany 90, 91 

institutionalization 14-17 

movement within 9 

regulation of defined populations 
13, 159 

right to control entry 159 
"national" boundaries of states 9 

and passports 69, 70 

identification through ID cards 155 

lack of, and statelessness 163 
Nazis 9 

approach to Jewish problem 131-2, 

census of German Jews 132, 139-40 
denationalization of German Jews 

132, 138 
deport Jews to death camps 141 
extermination of European Jewry 

140, 141 

"final solution" to Jewish problem 

140, 141, 143 
Foreigners Police Order 135 
identification cards for Jews 135, 

136, 139-40, 142, 143 
invasion of USSR 140, 141 
Lublin Reservation resettlement 


Madagascar Plan 140, 141 



monitoring movement of Jews 

134-5, 142-3 
Nuremberg laws (1935) 132, 135, 


occupation of Poland 140-1 
Order on Residential Registration 

people's registry for all Jews 139 
persecution of the Jews 131-43 
personal identity documents 133-4 
plans to expel Jews 135-6 
racial-imperialist policy 123-4 
resistance by Jews to carrying 

identification papers 142 
work-book system 133 
Yellow Badge to be worn by all Jews 


Netherlands, relaxation of passport 

controls 145 
new institutionalism 13 
nobility, as foreign to the French 

nation 28 
Noiriel, Gerard 7, 13, 28, 37, 43-4 
"nomads", France 108 
non-patrials, UK 151 
North German Confederation 
absence of documentation for 

lower classes 84-5, 86-7 
decriminalization of travel 58, 71, 

establishment 82 

expulsion of 87-8 
need for passport 83 
Passport Bill 82, 83-4, 85-8 
Passport Law 88-92, 108, 116, 134 
residency cards 82-3, 86 

Ottoman Empire, refugee problem 

Palestinian Refugees 144 
parish serfdom 19, 66, 67 
pass-cards, German states 76, 90 
Passenger Acts, UK 67-8 
passport controls 

absolutist Europe 18-20 

and transportation 77-8 

First World War 111-16 

France 21-56, 92, 112 

Germany 75-92, 112-13 

Great Britain 69-70, 91, 1 12 
historical development 1, 2 
Italy 114-65 

post-First World War 116-21 
post-Second World War Europe 

reasons for 55-6 
United States 117-18, 120, 121 
passport law 
Federal Republic of Germany 146, 

147, 153-4, 161 
Italy 103-5 

North German Confederation 

88-92, 108 

proposal 81-8 
Prussia 59-60 

revolutionary France 34, 36-41, 
45-6, 49, 54-5 
passport regime, interwar period 

passport system 
creation of 9 
historical development 3 
passports 12, 158, 167 
and nationality 69, 70 
as certificate of probity 35 
counterfeit 49 
details 27, 34-5, 38, 40 
machine-readable 155 
purpose of 160, 163, 166 
racial politics of, decolonizing 

United Kingdom 150-1 
replacements 22 
requirements 34-5 

circumvention of, France 22 
standardization 115 
see also external passports; internal 
passports; international passports 
patrials, UK 151 
Peace of Prague (1866) 82 
"penetrating" societies, states as 

Jewish population 140 
Jews wear Yellow Badge 141 
Nazi occupation of 140-1 
Polanyi, Karl 8, 20, 32, 67, 122, 130 
Polish workers, east Germany 109-10 
poor relief 19 
and movement restrictions, 
England 18-19 



German Confederation 89, 91 

nationalization 8-9, 69 

Poor Law Amendment Act, UK 69 

Prussian municipalities 73, 74 

revolutionary France 24 

Speenhamland system 67, 69 
postwar Europe, loosening of 
passport controls 143-57 
private entities 

as "sheriffs deputies" 9-10 

authorization of movement 5, 8 

transfer to state control over 
movement 8 
protectionism, interwar period 129 

abolition of documentary 
requirements 58 

citizenship laws 73-5 

emigration laws 66 

exit passport law 63 

foreigners passport laws 59-60, 61, 

geographical changes following 

Napoleon's defeat 62 
Imperial Police Ordinances 18 
incoming travelers issued passports 


internal migration 73-4 
movement of "friendly" states' 

artisans 61-2 
passport issuing authorities 62 
poor relief 73, 74 

of "dangerous classes" 79-80 

of foreigners 60, 63^i 
Prussian subjects 
documentary controls on 

movement 75 
exit passport laws 63 
freedom of movement 60-1, 63-4 
identity cards for internal travel 63, 


no passport requirements 60-1 
redefinition 73-4 

quotas and immigration visas, US 120 

Refugee Convention (1951) 144 

early interwar period 123, 124—31 
post-Second World War 143-4 

problem of, from German- 
controlled Europe 135, 136 

travel documents 127-9 
Republic of Ireland 149, 150 
residency cards 83 
restrictive exit policies 162 
revolution indentificatoire 7 
Rubinstein, William 137-8, 139, 142 
Russia 9 

Czarist, documentation of 
movement 19 

Nazi invasion of 140, 141 

Soviet internal passports 130-1, 165 
Russian refugees 124-5, 127 

Nansen passport 127-8 

Saxony, eliminates visa requirements 

Scandinavian countries, relaxation of 

passport controls 145 
Schengen Accords (1985) 153, 154, 


seamen, France 45 
Second World War 

Nazi persecution of Jews 140-3 

refugee problem 143-4 
serfdom 8, 19, 57, 66, 67, 71 
servants 8, 18 
shipping enterprises 10 
slaves 8 

Slavic people, Nazis attitude to 140 
social control 23 
social security card, US 166 
social standing, as indicator of 

identity 17 
South Africa, apartheid-era, granting 

of passports 9, 162 
Soviet Union see Russia 
Speenhamland system 67, 69 
state monopolization of the 

legitimate means of movement 

1-2, 3, 5, 6-10, 20, 122, 156, 157, 

159, 166, 167 
administrative infrastructure for 

France 53 

through defining who belongs and 

who does not 13 
transfer from local to "national" 

level 8-9 
stateless persons 123, 124, 163 



travel documents 127-9, 138 

as "embracing" societies 1 1 
as "penetrating" societies 10-11 
identification of inhabitants 17 
relationship with subjects/ citizens 

rights to control entry 159 
see also nation-states 
surveillance 11, 14, 15, 16-17 
"dangerous classes", Prussia 79-80 

France 31, 47, 55 

Prussia 60, 63-4 
French citizens 42, 47 
German citizens 133 
German occupied territories 140 
preoccupation of European police 

bureaucracies 145, 146 
working classes, Germany 86-7 
eliminates visa requirements 77 
objects to Jewish immigrants 136 

taxation 14 
Tilly, Charles 14 
Tocqueville, Alexis de 55, 85, 90 
toll barriers for goods 29 
transportation, and passport controls 

unauthorized migration 9 

United Kingdom 
accused of racial discrimination 151 
Aliens Order (1920) 116 
Aliens Restriction Act 69, 70, 91, 

British Nationality Act (1948) 149 
British Visitor's Card 149 
Commonwealth Immigration Act 

(1962) 149-50 
dismantling of feudalism 66-7 
documentary attestations 70 
emigration policy 68-9 
foreigners, passport requirements 

52, 69-70, 91 
freedom of internal movement 67 
Immigration Act (1971) 151 
immigration crisis, post-Second 

World War 149-51 
Irish immigration to 67 

Kenyan Asians and British 

nationality 150-1 
Passenger Acts (1803) 67-8 
passportless travel with Republic of 

Ireland 149 
passports for aliens 1 16 
"patrials" and "non-patrials" 151 
poor relief 18-19, 67, 69 
restrictions on movement between 

parishes, seventeenth century 

18-19, 66 
rules over uncontrolled departures, 

fourteenth century 18 
state-supported colonization 68 
United Nations High Commissioner's 

Office for Refugees (UNHCR) 


United Nations Relief and 

Rehabilitation Administration 
(UNRRA) 144 
United States 
Alien Act (1798) 94 
anti-Chinese violence 97, 100 
Asian emigrant restrictions 117, 118 
automated immigrant checking 

system 1 
Border Patrol 1 19 
China treaties 96-7 

certificate requirements 98, 99 
emigrants 96-7, 109 
exempt categories 98-9 
registratrion system 100-1 
Scott Act exclusions 99-100, 102 
Chinese Exclusion Acts 97-9, 101 
Communists denied passports 148, 

drivers license 166 
emigrant passports 117 
Filipinos treatment 102 
freedom of movement 96 
German emigrants 79 
immigrant inspection transferred 

abroad 103 
immigrants, literacy test 117, 118 
Immigration Act (1891) 101 
Immigration Act (1924) 120 
Immigration and Naturalization 

Service 1, 148 
immigration policy 101-2 

Great War 117 



inter war years 131 
immigration regulation 94-5 

nationalization of 101-3 
Italian emigrants 103, 104, 105 
Japanese exclusion 102 
opens door to Jewish refugees 139 
passport controls 

and state development 94-6 

on aliens 117-18, 120 
passport issuance, federal control 95 
passports, purposes 160 
quota system for immigrants 


racial inferiority and contagious 

disease 102 
recruit non-white labour 96 
social security card 166 
transatlantic passage restrictions 


vagabonds 18, 23, 51, 58, 64, 89, 133 
Vagrants' Registration Book (Nazi 

Germany) 133 
visa requirements, German states 76, 


visa system, international 53 

exit 162 

machine-readable 155 

Walzer, Michael 157 
watch committees (French 

Revolution) 46, 47, 48 
Weber, Max 4, 14, 15, 109, 121, 167 
West Germans, and GDR passport 

controls 147 
Western Europe 
documentary controls on 

movement 2 
passport controls, First World War 

11-16, 121 
passport requirements 92 
Woloch, Isser 21 
working classes, and passports, 

Germany 84-5, 86-7, 89-90 
"writing on the body", as a means of 

identification 17, 124 
Wurttemberg government, 

emigration requirements 64-5 
Wyman, David 137, 139 

Zolberg, Aristide 6, 94, 99, 120, 162